Criminal charge issued against director of animal shelter

BARRY COUNTY, MICH. - The Barry County Prosecutor's Office has issued a criminal charge against the director of the county's animal shelter on Wednesday.

The prosecutor's office says that Billie Jo Hartwell was charged with one count of misconduct in office, which is a felony common law offense and carries a maximum of five years in prison.

The charge stems from a range of alleged acts like taking unauthorized dog food to inappropriate conduct towards a Barry County Jail inmate worker. According to the prosecutor's office, although the Sheriff's Office and Animal Shelter are now separate entities, the inmate worker was assigned to work the shelter because it is a county run facility. 

The Barry County Sheriff's Office began looking into the case after being alerted to the alleged misconduct -- the investigation remains ongoing. 

Hartwell was arraigned today in Hastings District Court and is free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. Hartwell will appear in court next week for a probably cause conference. 

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer for WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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