ESCANABA, Mich. (WOOD) — An Upper Peninsula woman accused of operating a puppy mull has changed her plea days before her trial was set to start.
The Delta County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday that Rebecca Johnson, of Rock, has pleaded guilty to one felony count of abandoning of or cruelty to 25 or more animals and one misdemeanor count of unregistered animal shelters.
The investigation started in August 2020 when a state trooper was called to a property on a report of a loose horse. While there, the trooper discovered a number of malnourished dogs in outdoor kennels and called law enforcement to investigate.
In total, 23 horses and 135 dogs were seized from the property. Once the pregnant dogs gave birth, the number approached 200.
Johnson forfeited ownership of the animals in January 2021. The Delta Animal Shelter provided medical care and worked to get the animals adopted.
In a statement, Acting Prosecutor Lauren Wickman said she is grateful to take the next steps and close this case.
“This is a win for the whole community,” Wickman stated. “The way the people of Delta County responded to the needs of these animals is just incredible. Law enforcement and the volunteers with the Delta Animal Shelter made this case such a success, both inside and outside the courtroom. Our office wanted to make it a priority that she be held accountable for the conditions those animals lived in.”
Johnson is due to be sentenced July 7.