AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Augusta Township supervisor and his wife pleaded guilty after officials removed 71 animals -- cats, dogs, chickens, peacocks and exotic birds -- from “neglectful conditions" at their home, authorities said.
Supervisor Brian Shelby pleaded guilty to seven counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. His wife, Tammy Shelby, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, officials said.
Authorities removed 71 animals from the Shelby household on May 25, 2018. Among the animals were 37 cats, 13 chickens, nine dogs, two peacocks and 10 other exotic birds, according to police.
Two of the animals were critically ill at the time, but the other 69 have all been adopted, officials said.
“Mr. Shelby claimed he was helping homeless animals,” HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf said. “This case highlights a common problem whereby people claiming to be rescuing animals are more akin to hoarders, causing direct and serious harm. Good intentions don’t justify or excuse animal cruelty. (It’s) a good reminder to the public to do your homework before working with any animal group. No rational and caring person would have walked through this home and willingly left an animal here. We are glad they are being held accountable and delighted that nearly all of the animals found happy, loving homes.”
Investigators from the Humane Society of Huron Valley said there was excessive feces, urine and debris littering the yard and the inside of the home.
Many of the dogs and cats had been locked in filthy plastic kennels and were forced to step and lie in their own waste, police said.
Most of the house didn’t have electricity or ventilation, officials said. There was little food on the property, according to authorities.
The exotic birds -- including five cockatoos, two macaws, two conures and an Amazon parrot -- were closed in a room without light or ventilation, police said.
Brian and Tammy Shelby will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. March 16 in 15th Judicial District Court in Ann Arbor.