IRON MOUNTAIN (WWJ/AP) – A sentencing hearing for two women charged in a Michigan animal cruelty case involving 30 emaciated horses has been postponed after the court was given a photo of them dressed up as a judge and prisoner, standing near a person in a horse costume.
Joan and Kathy Khoury were scheduled for sentencing Thursday in Dickinson County District Court in Iron Mountain, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The hearing was postponed to Nov. 12, WLUC-TV reported, and the county prosecutor described the photo as inappropriate.
“It shows in my view of it complete contempt for the matters which were brought before this court as well as for the court proceedings,” said Dickinson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carl Downing.
The photo was taken the weekend before Halloween, the station reported.
The Associated Press left a message Friday seeking comment from their lawyer, Julie LaCost.
The photo has been generating quite a bit of discussion on Facebook, where it had initially appeared.
Posted Jason, of Iron Mountain, “They neglect animals and were found guilty in court THEN they posted this picture for Halloween? I saw the picture days ago thanks to Facebook. When I found out sentencing had been delayed, I was hoping this picture was the reason why. These women should be treated the same way they treated these poor animals …”
Another northern Michigan resident, Tami, wrote, “These women are beyond disgusting and disrespectful. I hope the judge throws the book at them. They obviously are completely oblivious to the horrors they have done.”
The women pleaded no contest last month to misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. Including the emaciated horses, authorities said the case also involved more than two dozen neglected cats and dogs.
The animals were taken from two separate properties in June. The horses were brought to an animal rescue organization and another group found homes for the cats and dogs.
Carrie Cramer of Piper’s Rescue Ranch, which helps find homes for rescued animals, said the photo “makes a mockery of the Upper Peninsula’s court system.”
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)