Majority of 108 dogs seized from home sent to rescues, shelters

Inside the home in the 56000 block of 52nd Avenue in Lawrence Township. (Courtesy Van Buren County Sheriff's Department)

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say only six of the more than 100 dogs seized from a home remain at the Van Buren County Animal Control facility.

Over the past four days, most of the dogs have been sent or picked up by rescues and shelters throughout the state for adoption, according to a press release from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office says it appears the remaining six dogs will be placed by the end of the week.

Van Buren County deputies and animal control officers seized 108 dogs, six cats and a horse from a home on 52nd Avenue in Lawrence Township on June 29.

Donald Frederick Smith, 40, and his wife Melissa Copen, 45, were charged with animal cruelty, but Copen denied her animals were poorly cared for. She said they were starting their own rescue program, but they got overwhelmed.

Deputies said the conditions at the home were “horrible” and that some of the dogs were underweight and had mange, fleas, deformities and injuries.

The couple signed off on the animals to be released to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office on July 6.

The sheriff’s office said in a release they are thankful for the public’s support and donations.

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