Canines adopted after 22 months in Montcalm County Animal Shelter

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 2:56 pm on Saturday, December 17, 2011

Six dogs have been adopted that were confiscated as evidence of a crime and placed in the Montcalm County Animal Shelter in the summer of 2009. The dogs are, clockwise from top left, Winchester, Breese, Haley, Sophie, Ruby and Esther. — Courtesy photos

Six puppies were confiscated as evidence of a crime and placed in the Montcalm County Animal Shelter in the summer of 2009.

The dogs weren’t released until 22 months later.

“This is a happy story,” said Sandra Carlton of Greenville, who helped rescue the dogs. “It was such a sad, sad story that had such a good, good ending.”

The 5-month-old hound dogs were seized Aug. 10, 2009, from a McBride Road residence in Ferris Township when Montcalm County prosecutors began the process of charging owner William Hacker with abandonment and cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail.

According to Prosecutor Andrea Krause, the investigation took quite a while to determine who owned the dogs. Once Hacker, 43, was identified, he didn’t appear in court for several more months.

In the meantime, the dogs were held in the Animal Shelter in Stanton as criminal evidence.

Carlton, an animal rights supporter, said she continually inquired about the dogs, but didn’t receive much information.

“We waited … and waited … and waited,” she said.

Eventually, Hacker reached an agreement with the court and prosecutors to give up the rights to the dogs in exchange for the criminal case against him being dismissed. Animal Control Officer Angie Sova informed Carlton on May 27, 2011, that the dogs were no longer considered evidence.

Carlton was concerned the dogs — now more than 2 years old — would no longer be adoptable, as they had been housed so long without much human interaction. She went to the Animal Shelter with a friend on May 31 and was pleasantly surprised.

“We found these dogs extremely responsive to our commands,” she said.

Carlton and her friend named the dogs Daphne, Haley, Priscilla, Sasha, Sophia and Winchester. They asked Animal Shelter officials for extra time to help adopt the dogs and they agreed.

Rolling Rescue helped with what Carlton called “a difficult process and a hard sell.”
All six dogs are now rescued and adopted.

Daphne was renamed Ruby. She had a bad case of cherry eye (a common eye problem for hound dogs) and underwent two surgeries to correct the problem.

Haley is currently living with a foster family in Canada with two other dogs and is scheduled to be adopted.
Priscilla was adopted by owners who had recently lost a pet. They renamed their new dog Esther and describe her as sweet and goofy.

Sasha was renamed Breeze and has adapted well to her new owners. She is shy and easily startled, but has a docile spirit and loves to play with children.

Sophia was adopted by a veterinarian and renamed Sophie. She often accompanies the vet on calls and loves to play fetch and go for walks.

Winchester — the only male of the bunch — is living with a semi-retired couple. The rescue agency that took Winchester said he was adopted faster than any hound they ever had.

“These dogs turned out to be magnificent dogs,” Carlton said. “They turned out to be wonderful companions.”

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