Former Farmington Hills Kennel owner found guilty of animal neglectCLOSE
Golden Retrievers ill-cared for by a long-time kennel owner. How many times is the word "poop" used in open court?
A former Farmington Hills kennel owner could face three months in jail after being found guilty of animal neglect Tuesday morning.
Mary Gabriel, 74, of Rose Township will be sentenced at 10 a.m. Jan. 10 after 16th District Judge Sean Kavanagh found her guilty of four misdemeanor counts of animal abuse following several hours of trial spanning two weeks.
In finding her guilty, Kavanagh rejected claims that Gabriel, former owner of Farmington Hills-based Chien d’Or Goldens kennel near 12 Mile and Orchard Lake roads, kept the dogs in good condition before passing them off to Livonia resident Kelly Dettore back in August.
"This is long-term neglect," Kavanagh said.
Gabriel was charged in Livonia's courthouse after an animal control officer was called to Dettore's Livonia home in August on the report of her having too many dogs. When an officer arrived, he found the four dogs, two golden retrievers and two Sussex spaniels, to have feces matted in their fur along with ear infections and fleas. Gabriel returned to court Tuesday morning after her trial originally began Dec. 5.
Kavanagh found Gabriel not guilty on four counts of keeping unlicensed dogs, saying that since the dogs were brought into Livonia, city ordinance stated they needed to be licensed within 30 days. Since the dogs were recovered in less than that, Kavanagh found her not guilty.
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Gabriel has faced issues in Farmington Hills before regarding the kennel. Her kennel license was not renewed earlier this year and she announced via the kennel's website that the business is for sale.
Livonia assistant city attorney Paul Bernier said in his closing argument it was clear that the dogs, known to belong to Gabriel, had been neglected for some time. He referenced testimony from the previous week's hearings from a Humane Society veterinarian, who said it was her opinion the dogs had not been cared for in some time.
"I think the dogs had been neglected for a long time," he said.
But Colleen Murphy, Gabriel's attorney, said Dettore is the one who neglected the dogs and was responsible, not her client. She cited the heavy rainfall the area had when the dogs were taken to Dettore's home in August and brought in one witness who told Kavanagh she saw the dogs shortly before Dettore began watching them and that they were in good condition.
Jennifer Elder, who formerly worked at the kennel run by Gabriel, said Tuesday she had seen the dogs a few days before and they didn't seem neglected then.
"It was three to four days before they left," she said.
Dettore's mother, Susan Collins, also testified in the continuation of the trial Tuesday morning. She said her daughter appeared well over her head in taking care of the dogs, which Collins saw an hour after Dettore took them to her home.
She said she noticed right away the dogs were in bad shape and needed care. She said she tried to remove the mats, but said they were incredibly tight against the dogs' skin.
"I went and got the shampoo and tried to cut the mats," Collins said. "I knew she needed to do something."
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