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Branch County Humane Society overcrowded with dogs after seizure from unlawful kennel

Shelters across southern Michigan are looking for homes for over 200 dogs that were seized from a home in Rome Township last month.

Shelters across southern Michigan are looking for homes for over 200 dogs that were seized from a home in Rome Township last month.

The Lenawee County Sheriff's Office said Sharon Kay Evans was running a kennel out of her home that was overcrowded and in inhumane conditions. Jan Nageldinger of the Branch County Humane Society was one of the people called in to help sort through the mess of filth and malnourished animals.

"They did not have water. Some of them were outside in cages,” Nageldinger said. “Somebody walked a dead puppy in front of us, it was stiff. It was terrible. It was terrible. We all cried."

Nageldinger, along with a coalition of shelters in Lenawee, Jackson and Monroe counties, have been working around the clock to take in as many animals as they can. In addition to the 200+ dogs that were seized, authorities took 32 horses, five cats, and two peacocks from the home.

"They feel so much better, they're so happy right now," Nageldinger said.

The Branch Co. Humane Society has 28 kennels, but they actually took in 29 new dogs that were rescued. Nageldinger is having to double up some dogs in kennels, and is working with her staff just get the dogs clean, nourished, and used to being around people again.

"It's a lot to take on, it's a lot for our staff. They have all stepped up, volunteers have helped out," Nageldinger said.

Nageldinger said she's received an overwhelming amount of inquiries about the rescued dogs, and she's confident they'll all find a forever home.

"We've had dogs go to Florida, New York, and Maine,” Nageldinger said. “I have no doubt they're all going to find great homes."

Sharon Kay Evans has been charged with animal abandoning/cruelty to 10 or more animals, a four-year felony.

Investigators opened up an investigation in response to a complaint received in December of 2017, alleging that a woman living at 8843 Shepherd Road in Lenawee County was selling dogs that were being advertised as puppies and falsifying documentation. The complainant believed the conditions at the Shepherd Road residence were inhumane based upon the poor condition of the dog that she had purchased from the 53-year-old woman.

On Jan. 3rd, 2018 a search warrant was executed at the residence by the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office who was assisted by the Lenawee Humane Society, the Jackson County Humane Society, Jackson Cascades Kennel, Branch County Humane Society, Monroe County Humane Society, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Lenawee County Health Department and local veterinary offices. Investigators, with the help of these agencies, removed over 200 dogs, 32 horses, five cats and two peacocks due to the extremely poor conditions at the residence - including no shelter or water, and animal feces was observed by investigators.

If you’re interested in adopting from the BCHS, you can call them to set up an appointment, go to the BCHS Facebook page, or search for the dogs on petfinder.com

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