Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19891
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse, other farm animal, goat
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Attorneys/Judges
Judge(s): Richard Conlin


For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Thursday, Sep 6, 2012

County: Washtenaw

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Burton Hoey

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The Humane Society of Huron Valley seized eight animals Thursday from the popular Jenny's Market near Dexter.

Humane Society cruelty investigator Matt Schaecher said the seized animals, which included horses, donkeys and goats, were in varying states of neglect. Investigators are working on a report that will be submitted to the prosecutor's office for possible charges, he said.

The market, at Island Lake and Dexter-Pinckney roads in Webster Township, is a popular spot in the fall for families seeking cider, doughnuts, pumpkins and pony rides.

Investigators had visited the market Wednesday, Schaecher said, and returned Thursday with a search warrant. The Humane Society and Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies were at the property for several hours late Thursday afternoon and evening, Schaecher said.

Market operator Burton Hoey said Friday that investigators took two horses, four donkeys and two goats from the property. He said he doesn't think the seizure was necessary.

"I think they overreacted," he said. "They should have pointed out what they thought was wrong and gave me a couple of weeks to make any correction that I could make."

Hoey said one of the horses was an 18-year-old mare with heaves, also called recurrent airway obstruction. He said he was treating the animal as best he could, but a veterinarian had told him nothing could be done for her, he said.

The other seized horse had an abscess on its hoof that Hoey said had already healed.

Hoey said the Humane Society said the donkeys' hooves needed trimming. He said he acquired them last fall from someone who had not trimmed their feet, and he was in the process of gradually trimming them back.

As for the goats, he said investigators thought they were underweight, but Hoey said they were underfed when he bought them a couple of months ago and he has been nourishing them back to health.

He said he still has 18 horses, one donkey and one goat on the property.

Hoey said he hopes to get the animals back, and in the meantime is operating his business as usual with one exception. Until last year, Hoey had offered hayrides on the property, but said he has decided to end those. "It's just too much," he said.

An employee, Mary Armbruster was paralyzed during a hayride on the property last year when she fell off the wagon and was run over by it. She has since filed a lawsuit.


Case Updates

The owner of Jenny's Market was sentenced on two counts of animal cruelty and given 24 months of probation, during which he will not be able to acquire any animals.

Burton Hoey, who operates the market at 8366 Island Lake Road, just west of Dexter, also was ordered to pay court costs and restitution and will need to complete 50 hours of community service, according to a news release from the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Hoey was sentenced March 27 by Judge Richard Conlin in Chelsea. As part of his probation period, Hoey will be required to have monthly visits and reports from a licensed large animal veterinarian.

Hoey could not be reached for comment. Hoey's attorney, John Bredell, said the sentencing does not affect the animals his client owns right now.

Bredell wasn't sure of how many animals Hoey owns, but said Hoey has no plans to shut down and will continue to operate as usual.

"He's owned farm animals for 40 years," Bredell said. "He's taken care of as many as 400 animals and this is the first time anyone has complained... He just wanted to bring it to a speedy resolution."

On Jan. 30, Hoey pled no contest to two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley seized eight farm animals from Jenny's Market on Sept. 6, 2012, which led to the animal cruelty charges against Hoey. Two horses, four donkeys and two goats were among the animals seized.

Humane Society investigators said the animals were in varying stages of neglect. A horse, which was suffering from the respiratory disease heaves, later died, lead cruelty investigator Matt Schaecher told AnnArbor.com at the time.

The last two animals rescued from the market have been placed with a farm animal rescue in Georgia. Junior, a brown, Percheron draft horse, and Olive, a 2-year-old donkey, have made full medical recoveries.

"We believe animal cruelty is a serious crime inflicted on those completely innocent and unable to protect themselves," Schaecher said in a statement. "We worked very hard to end the cruel conditions under which these defenseless animals were kept and to provide medical treatment and ongoing care to those that were seized. Our reward is seeing a happy ending for those like Junior and Olive."
Source: Ann Arbor - March 29, 2013
Update posted on Mar 31, 2013 - 10:33PM 
The owner of a popular farm market west of Dexter has pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, the Humane Society of Huron Valley said Friday.

Burton Hoey, who operates Jenny's Market at Island Lake and Dexter-Pinckney roads, is scheduled for sentencing on March 28, the humane society said in a news release.

The market is a popular spot in the fall for families seeking cider, doughnuts, pumpkins and pony rides.

Humane Society investigators seized two horses, four donkeys and two goats from Jenny's Market Sept. 6, alleging they were in varying stages of neglect. A horse, which was suffering from the respiratory disease heaves, later died, lead cruelty investigator Matt Schaecher said.

Hoey was initially charged with three counts of cruelty to two to three animals. Prosecutors dropped one charge, Schaecher said.

A no-contest plea is not admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

"We've been to Jenny's Farm Market numerous times over the past 10 years because of complaints of abused and neglected animals," said Schaecher. "We see this conviction as a victory for the many animals that have suffered. We know there are many community members and families that will feel the same."

Hoey said Friday that he had agreed to the no-contest plea in exchange for a reduction from $11,000 to $4,000 in the amount of money he would have to pay for boarding the seized animals and also to save money on legal fees.

"I might have lost anyway," he said. "I didn't stand a chance from the day they came here."

He said the seizure of the animals was unjust.

"Someone set me up to get the Humane Society to come out here and take some of the animals that were being treated," he said.

In September, Hoey said the organization overreacted in seizing the animals.

He said he was treating the horse with heaves as best he could, but a veterinarian had told him nothing could be done for her, he said.

The other seized horse had an abscess on its hoof that Hoey said had already healed.

Hoey said the Humane Society said the donkeys' hooves needed trimming, but he said he acquired them last fall from someone who had not trimmed their feet, and he was in the process of gradually trimming them back.

As for the goats, he said investigators thought they were underweight, but Hoey said they were underfed when he bought them months ago and he has been nourishing them back to health.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and and/or a $2,000 fine and/or 300 hours of community service, but Schaecher said it's typical in such cases for the court to impose a fine and probation and order the defendant to make restitution.

The humane society will ask the court to bar Hoey from contact with animals during his probation, Schaecher said. Hoey said he still has five Percheron horses on the property.

The humane society is adopting out the seized animals. The goats seized from the market have already been adopted but two miniature donkeys and two full-size donkeys as well as one horse are available for adoption. For information about adopting them, email adoptions@hshv.org or call (734) 661-3511.

The animal cruelty case is one in a series of problems for Hoey's business that began in September 2011 when a hayride accident paralyzed an employee. The employee has sued over the incident. Lawyers are working out a settlement in the case.

The day after the accident, Webster Township delivered a stop-work order to the market alleging violations of zoning ordinances.

In late October that year, Hoey reported that two men attacked him at the market and stole several months worth of proceeds at the business. Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies have dropped their investigation of the attack, saying Hoey wasn't cooperating and had failed a polygraph test.

Hoey sued Webster Township in April 2012 over its refusal to grant him a permit to install a bathroom. In denying the permit, township officials said Hoey had failed to submit a required site plan. Hoey and the township still are working toward a settlement.

Last fall, the township brought a complaint against Jenny's Market, alleging that what Hoey calls a "haunted straw maze" is a public nuisance and unsafe. Judge Timothy Connors denied a request for a preliminary injunction seeking to have the maze shut down. Hoey and the township also are working toward a settlement in that case.
Source: AnnArbor.Com - Feb 1, 2013
Update posted on Mar 31, 2013 - 10:31PM 

References

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