Investigation into Isabella County Man Leads to Rescuing Over 30 Animals from Property

Deputies rescued dozens of animals in terrible condition — after a criminal sexual conduct investigation led them to the property in Isabella County.

Sad DogAccording to the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office, they were investigating a criminal sexual complaint against a 48-year-old man.

The complaint alleges the man forcibly holds women down, fondles areas of their body, and attempts to take off their pants.

The sheriff’s office says when deputies attempted to interview the man in person, they found dozens of animals – mostly dogs – on the property that were in desperate need of care.

They obtained a search warrant and, along with the Isabella County Animal Control, rescued 30 dogs and one pygmy goat.

There was one dog that was found deceased and was not buried.

The animals are now in the care of Humane Animal Treatment Society in Isabella County.

“We have over 60 dogs now on site,” said Humane Animal Treatment Society (HATS) Executive Director Amanda Tillotson. “We currently have 31 [animals] from this particular case. We have about 35 dogs as well that we’re already available for adoption.”

Tillotson said this is way more than their average amount of dogs they have.

“We started scrambling yesterday to make space,” she said. “Thankfully we came up with a system, but long term it’s not a great solution, but everybody is housed safe, they have their own kennels with food and water, but ultimately we’re trying to move out as many of our adoptable animals as quickly as possible.”

She said the conditions these dogs were in were cruel.

“They’ve been mostly living outdoors, eating we don’t even want to know what because what they’re expelling from their body currently is horrific,” she said. “Their grooming needs have been severely neglected. These are mostly hounds and livestock protection dogs like Great Pyrenees, and they have very thick coats and all the Pyrenees are severely matted.”

Tillotson said these cases are just heartbreaking for them.

“These poor dogs did not ask for this,” she said. “It’s difficult on the staff but we get through it by knowing that we’re giving them the second chance that they deserve.”

Tillotson said she’s thankful for the support from communities around northern Michigan.

“A lot of people reaching out, a lot of people concerned about these animals, it’s just wonderful to see everybody who’s wanting to help and their concern,” she said.

If you’re looking to help donate, HATS says they welcome monetary donations, as well as donations from their Amazon and Chewy wish lists.

The man has not been formally charged yet.

He’s facing several charges including sex crimes, animal cruelty and being a felon with a weapon.