Breeders Plead Guilty After 380 Dogs Seized

ALLEGAN (WWJ/AP) – A southwest Michigan couple will get psychological evaluations after pleading guilty to reduced charges stemming from the discovery of hundreds of dogs at their home.

Cheri and George Burke, both 64, entered the pleas Wednesday to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Allegan County District Court. Judge Joseph Skocelas ordered the evaluations ahead of sentencing, which is scheduled for May 24.

The Burkes could get probation or jail time. They originally were charged with felonies. Authorities say the dogs were being bred.

Authorities say at least 380 dogs were seized April 9 and people from around the state pitched in to help care for the animals. The dogs were taken the home in Cheshire Township, about 40 miles south-southwest of Grand Rapids.

Authorities say many of the animals were filthy and covered with feces, and more than a dozen were pregnant and others were sick.

An animal control officer who visited the home said a building that housed the animals had more than a foot of feces on the floor. Court documents show that an investigator who went to the house on April 9 said the smell of ammonia made his eyes water.

An official with the Humane Society said the animals are in “pretty rough shape, but not horrible.” Mostly, they’ve been neglected, she said.   The Humane Society has been working to find homes for the dogs.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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