NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — Humane Society officials confirm nine dogs that were confiscated from a Muskegon County shelter last month have since died.

The Norton Shores Police Department says 78 dogs were removed from a home on Sheffield Street on Jan. 30 after they were found to be living in unfit conditions.

The homeowner, Lisa Cober, ran a shelter called Cober’s Canines. Police received a tip through Pound Buddies Animal Shelter that there was an “excessive number of dogs” at the home that were in poor health and that the home was a health hazard to other animals in the community.

The dogs were evaluated by Pound Buddies and placed into the care of three other area shelters. As of Friday morning, nine dogs have passed away from distemper — a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems in dogs and puppies. Vaccines to prevent distemper are widely available and is considered one of the “core vaccines” for dogs by American Humane.

Six of the now-deceased dogs were in the care of Harbor Humane Society and three were at Big Lake Humane Society (formerly the Muskegon Humane Society).

Big Lake still has one dog dealing with a distemper infection but the others do not have the virus.

A booking photo of Lisa Cober provided by the Muskegon County Sheriff's Office.
A booking photo of Lisa Cober provided by the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office.

Alexis Robertson, the executive director of Big Lake Humane Society, said the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for Cober to forfeit her rights to the dogs, but she has yet to give her approval. News 8 reached out for confirmation of that from the prosecutor’s office but did not immediately hear back.

Robertson said all four shelters currently caring for the dogs are tracking the costs they have accrued. In order for Cober to get the dogs back, she would need to pay restitution for those costs. If she releases them, the shelters would be forced to eat the costs.

Jen Self-Aulgur, executive director of Harbor Humane Society, says her team has already incurred more than $10,000 in costs since receiving their first dogs on Jan. 31. Robertson estimates her shelter is close to $10,000, as well.

Cober faces one felony charge of cruelty to 25 or more animals, which carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

She is next due in court for a pretrial hearing on March 14. Court documents state Cober bonded out earlier this month.