For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2022
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Lake City, Mich. – This morning, officials from animal control agencies in Wexford, Clare, and Roscommon counties and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources entered the property of John D. Jones, a backyard breeder operating under the name JRT John’s Jack Russell Terriers, and removed all the dogs in his custody. Video footage of authorities leaving the property with the dogs is available here.
The action comes as a result of a recent PETA undercover investigation into JRT revealing extreme abuse, neglect, and apparent violations of state law and a four-day PETA sit-in at the office of Missaukee County Sheriff Wil Yancer—peaceful protesters had arrived in Michigan from across the country to call on the sheriff to seize or render aid to the 34 adult dogs and seven puppies, many of whom were left outside in pens as temperatures dropped to minus 5 degrees. During the week, Yancer met with Jones, who left smiling and scoffed at the protesters, shoved one of them, and had two of them arrested for refusing the leave the office at 5 p.m., even though the building was open to the public 24 hours a day prior to the sit-in. PETA is now calling for cruelty charges to be filed against Jones and urging the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to investigate Jones and bar him for life from being licensed to breed dogs. Photos and video footage of the sit-in, which began with a protest outside the sheriff’s office on Tuesday, are available here and here.
“It took four days of dog defenders giving up their jobs and home lives to protest Sheriff Yancer’s inaction peacefully, but these suffering dogs have finally been saved,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA is rejoicing because Yancer finally did his job, and we thank the animal control agencies for seeing the rescue operation through, but we won’t rest until John D. Jones faces legal repercussions and a lifetime ban on possessing animals.”
- Jones severed puppies’ tails with forceps and cut off their dewclaws with nail clippers, without anesthetics or pain relief—as the puppies screamed in pain.
- Nursing dogs and their puppies were confined to wooden boxes with urine-soaked straw inside a reeking, cluttered carport.
- Dogs were confined to small cages outside in snow and mud. They had been given only a few handfuls of straw per dilapidated doghouse, leaving them shivering in the rain and snow, and since the windchill dipped to minus 11 degrees, their drinking water froze daily. The animals drank immediately—sometimes for more than 60 seconds—when PETA’s investigator gave them water.
- Deprived of stimulation and exercise, the frantic dogs turned in endless circles and otherwise exhibited signs of extreme psychological distress.
- PETA’s investigator found one dog dead in a kennel with leaves and straw packed in his mouth. Jones hadn’t checked on the dogs all day and didn’t know that the dog had died. In the 11 weeks that PETA’s investigator worked at the kennel, he never saw Jones touch the dogs housed outside except to pick up the dead dog.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.