LAKE CITY, Mich. (WZZM) - A northern Michigan prosecutor is hoping a lawsuit will shut-down an alleged puppy mill in Missaukee County.
Court documents show that there were nearly 200 dogs being kept at the man's home, in Lake City. The man's website is called JRT John's Jack Russell Terriers. The dogs and puppies are being sold across the country.
The owner of the kennel, John Jones, posted pictures of his dogs. The photos appear to have been taken in the summer. To some, it might look good, but that's not what investigators say they found when they went there last February.
According to court documents, the kennel had an overwhelming urine odor and feces was left in a big pile next to the kennels. Investigators also noted that most of the animals were living outside on ice. The only housing that they had were car carriers with no insulation.
A Traverse City rescue group, HANDDS To The Rescue, says it's been concerned about the puppy mill for a while.
"These dogs are kept out in the cold. Not in an enclosure, in dog kennels out in the cold. That's not the way a dog should be living," says Dorothy Decoeur.
The Missaukee County Sheriff's Department presented a criminal case to the prosecutor. But instead of filing criminal charges for not having a kennel license, which would likely end with a fine, the prosecutor filed an injunction. It asks the judge to have the dogs removed.
"I feel that he does care about the animals, but he has 200 of them. There's no way you can care for that many by one person."
Investigators say they found 136 dogs outside, and an additional 64 dogs and puppies in a nursery. The dogs are being sold to anyone who wants to purchase one. For an extra fee, the puppy can be shipped to the new owners home.
If the Missaukee County judge grants the permanent injunction, as it stands, the dogs will have to be removed within 14 days or the dogs will be humanely euthanized.
There are rescue groups like HANDDS that are willing to take the dogs. Friday afternoon, there was a hearing on the matter. Jones told the judge that the dogs are healthy and can withstand the cold.
The judge told Jones that he had 30 days to get a kennel license. If not, the process of removing the dogs could soon begin.