October 12 – Bellaire – A woman accused of multiple crimes of cruelty to animals declines an offer of self-defense.
“There’s going to be a trial,” Antrim County District Attorney James Rossiter told 13th Circuit Judge Thomas Power during what was previously scheduled to be a hearing.
Brooklynn Beck, 28, of Central Lake, faces six criminal charges in the 13th Circuit after law enforcement in April executed a search warrant at the Muckle Road home she was renting, discovering dead animals inside a box freezer as well as more than 100 neighborhoods. Animals in unsanitary conditions, court records report.
Beck has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on $25,000 bond, 10 percent cash or bond, court records show.
Previously charged in an incident of animal cruelty in Grand Traverse County, Beck was brought to trial in April on one misdemeanor charge after officials said a small-bred dog died after Beck groomed him at an unnamed pet grooming company in Blair.
Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power denied Beck’s earlier request for access to the veterinary records of the deceased Shih Tzu.
Complaints were filed against another pet grooming company, House of Floof, in Central Lake, owned by Beck and her fiancé, Michael Torland, that brought law enforcement to their Muckle Road home, according to previous statements by Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean.
Since April 28, Antrim County Animal Control has taken care of the 106 animal officers captured from Beck, and on September 28 Rossiter filed a motion in the 13th Circuit Court, asking Bauer to order the confiscation of the animals.
Financial accounting filed with the court shows that as of June, the county has spent more than $15,000 on caring for confiscated animals.
Court records showed that the confiscation order would allow animal control officers to return the animals to their homes, which include a Cladisdale horse, baby rabbits, two sulcata tortoises, a bearded dragon and a watch lizard as well as cats, dogs, chickens and snakes.
Last week, Rossiter and Beck’s attorney, Matthias Johnson, agreed to delay any decision on the forfeiture request, as the forfeiture would likely be included in the pending payment offer, court records show.
However, Rossiter told Bauer on Tuesday that the proposal had returned, requesting that it be judged before trial, which court records show is tentatively scheduled for October 24-27.
“Okay, how long is this going to take?” Request authority, from the hearing.
“It could take two to three hours,” Rossiter said.
“A two- to three-hour hearing?” asked Bauer, expressing what seemed to be a surprise in the length of time Rossiter had appreciated him.
“I think so, your honor,” Rossiter said, adding that he would check the availability of witnesses he intends to call to testify.
Bauer said the court would seek to hear the case as quickly as possible, although it likely won’t find a free appointment until next week.
In response to Johnson’s October 4 forfeiture request, Beck denied that the live animals confiscated from her property were in poor condition.
Rossiter, at the July 18 scheduling conference, offered to dismiss three of the six felony counts of killing or torturing animals and one count of abandoning or cruelty to more than 25 animals brought against Beck, in exchange for pleas of guilt to three counts of murder or court records show.
On October 6, Johnson said an updated offer from Rossiter was to dismiss four of six criminal charges, in exchange for his client pleading guilty to two counts of murder or torture.
By dismissing the suit, the case will move to trial where Beck, if found guilty on all charges, faces four to seven years in prison and fines between $5,000 and $10,000, according to court records.
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