County Antrim: Prosecutor seeks confiscation of animal in child abuse case | New

BELLAIRE — County Antrim paid more than $15,000 to care for a menagerie of exotic animals seized as part of an abuse investigation and, after filing criminal charges against the owner, the prosecutor applies for a forfeiture order to the court.

Brooklynn Beck, 28, of Central Lake, faces six felony charges in the 13th Circuit Court after law enforcement in April executed a search warrant on the Muckle Road home she rented in Central Lake, seizing 106 animals, according to court records.

Beck was previously charged in a Grand Traverse County animal cruelty incident and arraigned in April on a single misdemeanor charge after officials said a dog died after being treated by Beck at a pet business. Blair Township Anonymous Dog Grooming.

Beck was employed by the company and had worked there for a few months, officials said, when she was fired after a small-breed dog – a 10- to 12-year-old Shih Tzu – died after being returned to its owner.

Beck has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on $25,000 bond, 10% cash or bond, according to court records. A previous request by Beck to access the shih tzu’s veterinary records was denied by 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power.

In County Antrim, Beck and her fiance, Michael Turland, owned House of Floof, a dog grooming business. Sheriff Dan Bean previously said the couple operated out of a rented warehouse in Central Lake.

The Sheriff said County Antrim officials were aware of complaints from House of Floof customers. But, Bean said, it was the grim discovery of exotic animals frozen alive in a chest freezer in their rented home that led to the initial arrest warrant.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on the property on April 28, according to court records, and also found live animals in unsanitary conditions, including a Clydesdale horse, baby rabbits, two Sulcata tortoises, a bearded dragon, a monitor lizard, as well as cats, dogs, chickens and snakes.

“The Clydesdale suffered from cankers in the hoof, which were infested with maggots, and is still receiving veterinary care for this condition,” County Antrim prosecutor James Rossiter said in a forfeiture motion filed September 28. .

Beck, represented by Traverse City attorney Mattias Johnson, in a response filed Tuesday in the 13th Circuit Court, denied the animals were in poor condition. The Clydesdale needed medical attention, she agreed, noting that she and her fiancé had only recently acquired the horse.

Judge Power agreed on Thursday to adjourn the forfeiture motion until next week, while Beck considers a plea offer from the prosecutor’s office.

“If there is a plea, I think the motion is supported,” Rossiter told the judge. “If there’s no plea, we’ll have to go through with the motion.”

A forfeiture order would allow animal control officers to reinstate the animals, according to court records.

The prosecutor, at a July 18 planning conference, offered to dismiss three counts of killing or torturing animals and one count of abandoning or cruelty to more than 25 animals, in exchange for a guilty plea by Beck to three counts of murder or torture, court records show.

Rossiter did not return a call seeking comment on Thursday, and Johnson said the new offer would dismiss four felony counts, in exchange for his client’s guilty plea to two counts of murder or torture.

A guilty plea would result in a conviction, Johnson said, and a conviction would require confiscation of the animals.

Incarceration and probation issues, as well as any financial penalties in which Beck would be required to reimburse County Antrim, would be decided at sentencing, Johnson said.

“Generally, a defendant considers all of the potential consequences of accepting a plea, versus going to trial and, in that case, there are other possible collateral consequences” of forfeiture, probation terms and possible fines, Johnson said.

Johnson said Beck has until 9 a.m. Tuesday to decide. If she declines the offer, the case will go to trial where Beck, if found guilty on all charges, faces four to seven years in prison and fines of between $5,000 and $10,000, records show. judicial.

Kalli Williams, an Arizona reptile enthusiast who said she followed the case after learning that two of the snakes being cared for by County Antrim animal control officers might be hers, offered her return assistance.

Williams said she had ties to nonprofit reptile rescue groups in Arizona and offered to drive to Michigan and rent a suitable vehicle to transport the animals to new homes.

Williams said she previously loaned four boa constrictors to Turland for breeding, when Turland and Beck lived in a rented house in rural Kingman, Arizona.

A similar discovery of dead animals inside a chest freezer at the Kingman home that Turland and Beck were renting was confirmed by officials in Mohave County, Arizona, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. .

Williams said at one point she believed her four snakes – named Jigsaw, Lucie, Sneck and Big Mama – were among those found dead.

On Thursday, however, she said she now believes Sneck, who Williams described as “a tame dog,” and that Big Mama may still be alive.

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