SAGINAW, MI – A man from Carrollton Township has been charged with a felony for allegedly running a puppy mill that saw two dozen dogs living in “appalling conditions.”
In addition to risking years in prison, the dog owner already owes Saginaw County a five-figure sum for dog housing costs.
On Thursday, June 24, Saginaw County District Judge David D. Hoffman indicted Joe L. Horne Jr., 38, with cruelty to 10 to 25 animals. The charge is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of $ 5,000 and up to 500 hours of community service.
Horne was already in Saginaw County Jail, after being arraigned on March 18 for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, a 10-year felony. Horne was free on bail on the charge but violated his terms and was re-arrested in late May.
On March 15, Saginaw Animal Care & Control County and Carrollton Township Police officers executed a search warrant on Horne’s home in the 200 block of Shattuck Street, finding 20 adult dogs and four puppies.
“The abuse and appalling conditions were extremely disheartening, to see what the animals lived in and what they were subjected to,” said Animal Control Director Bonnie Kanicki.
The 24 dogs, all American bullies and mixtures of bullies, were removed and taken to animal control. Since then, three of the dogs have undergone necessary surgery, Kanicki said.
Kanicki said Horne breeds the dogs and sells them online through the Facebook page, “BullyTreatz HomeOf Canelon”, marketing them as “exotic bullies” or “micro-bullies.”
Horne returned five of the 24 dogs on March 18, saying he “had no emotional attachment to them,” Kanicki said. Those five have since been adopted, Kanicki said.
Horne did not return any of the remaining 19, as two of the four puppies died of health complications. Of the remaining 17, three are in foster care and 14 remain at Animal Control, Kanicki said.
“He insisted he only had three and other people owned the other 14,” Kanicki said. “The investigation was very long and thorough. It took a lot of investigative effort to determine and prove that he was in fact running a business breeding and selling these dogs.
The cost of housing and feeding the dogs is $ 15 per day, per dog. That brings Horne’s total of those 17 dogs to $ 25,755 on Thursday, plus about $ 3,500 in vet surgery costs.
“He was very dismissive about it,” Kanicki said. “He hasn’t shown much concern about the escalating costs for the county government to take care of his animals. He was well aware when we spoke that these costs were increasing. “
Kanicki added that his agency had not received any calls from Horne’s alleged clients asking for the status of the dogs.
In Thursday’s appearance, lawyer Patricia Slomski said Horne had a long history of psychiatric problems, for which he had been hospitalized on several occasions and was currently taking medication.
Slomski also said Horne has a criminal record but is not currently on parole.
Judge Hoffman set Horne’s bond at $ 25,000 in cash or 10%, although he is being held without bond in his assault case. On the animal abuse charge, Horne is scheduled to appear for a pre-examination conference at 10:45 a.m. on July 1.
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