Paw Paw couple with over 100 dogs enters pleas in court

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Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP/FOX 17) — A Van Buren County couple pleaded guilty Thursday to animal cruelty after authorities removed 108 dogs and several other animals from their rural home.

Donald Smith and his wife Melissa Copen entered pleas Thursday in an agreement with prosecutors in Van Buren County.

The Van Buren County Prosecutor, Michael Bedford says the couple have signed over all the animals to animal control and won’t be allowed to keep animals.

Sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers seized the animals, including six cats and a horse, in June. Authorities have said many of the animals were underweight and had fleas or deformities. The sheriff described living conditions at the property in Lawrence Township as horrendous.

Copen had talked to FOX 17 in June and said that they had asked animal control for help with caring for the animals, but then they came back with police and arrested them.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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