Guilty plea in animal cruelty case
ROGERS CITY – A Hawks woman pleaded guilty to a felony charge of animal cruelty or abandonment, nearly eight months after Presque Isle County Sheriff deputies seized horses, dogs and pigs from her farm.
Christine K. Thompson entered a guilty plea at the end of June to cruelty or abandonment of four to 10 animals, a lesser charge than what she originally faced, 53rd Circuit Court Clerk Rose Przybyla said. She entered the plea following a hearing concerning her bond terms.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Mack amended the bond, ordering her to stay off a farm where she had been leasing pasture for the horses, any other land housing or containing animals, or anyone with actual physical control of an animal.
Thompson had been charged with cruelty or abandonment of 10 or more animals, a four-year felony, after deputies took 33 horses, five dogs and two pigs from her Hawks farm in November 2012, according to a sheriff department release. All animals were in various states of neglect, and some horses had to be put down due to their condition. Many have since been adopted, including all five dogs and most of the horses.
In December 2012, District Court Judge Maria Barton ordered the animals to be forfeited, and ordered Thompson to pay more than $13,000 in restitution. She also ordered Thompson not to possess any animals. During her preliminary and forfeiture hearing, Thompson claimed she was boarding horses for others and taking in rescue horses.
In June, Mack went over a list of witnesses and evidence exhibits for Thompson’s trial, which was set to begin next week, Przybyla said. Thompson later opted to plead guilty to the lesser felony that same day.
Thompson could face up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, as many as 300 hours of community service or a combination of the three, according to state law. Her sentencing is set for August, with the exact date to be determined, Przybyla said.