For Immediate Release:
January 5, 2022
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382; [email protected]
Lake City, Mich. — The Missaukee County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Office arrested a peaceful protester this afternoon, following a two-day PETA sit-in held in the building’s foyer. The woman—who had been told earlier that the building remains open to the public 24 hours a day—had been appealing the sheriff’s failure to seize or render aid to freezing and mutilated dogs, whose suffering in violation of state law is exposed in a new PETA undercover investigation. Video of the arrest is available here, and photos of the protest are available here and here.
There is now national interest in the dogs’ continued suffering and the sheriff’s inaction, and more protesters will be arriving at the sheriff’s office Thursday morning to demand that John D. Jones—a backyard breeder operating under the name JRT John’s Jack Russell Terriers—face consequences over the continued abuse and neglect of dogs left out in 28-degree weather. PETA notes that Jones met with Sheriff Wil Yancer at the office for some minutes earlier in the day but left all smiles and scoffed at the demonstrators. The dogs remain on his property.
PETA provided the sheriff’s office with video footage and photos from the group’s investigation on December 3 and has repeatedly offered to assist with relocating the dogs, as has the Michigan Humane Society, but the sheriff has done nothing. The findings include the following:
- 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 are confined to wooden boxes with urine-soaked straw inside a reeking, cluttered carport.
- Dogs are confined to small cages outside in snow and mud. They have 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 1 degree, their drinking water has frozen 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 turn 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.
“While this peaceful protester is arrested for trying to meet with the sheriff, the man who is leaving dogs out in the freezing cold and puppies screaming in pain suffers no consequences and the cruelty continues,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA has bent over backwards, providing Sheriff Yancer with every bit of information and every offer of resources to rescue these suffering animals and uphold the law in Missaukee County.”
This isn’t the first time that Jones has violated the law: By 2008, some 85 dogs had been seized from him in Barry County, Michigan. In 2012, by which time he had moved to Missaukee County, the sheriff’s office inspected his operation at least three times and tried to persuade him to improve conditions for dogs. When that failed, authorities seized at least 165 dogs from him in 2013. PETA is asking the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to investigate Jones and bar him for life from being licensed to breed dogs.
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.