Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 18, 2012

New owner finds dead dogs in home

MIDDLEVILLE (AP) — A man who purchased a foreclosed home formerly owned by an animal-welfare advocate found mounds of feces and dead dogs when he got control of the property in western Michigan.

Kurt Wierenga said he plans to demolish the house, which is only 10 years old, after discovering the conditions. He told WOOD-TV that dead dogs were inside and outside the rural home near Middleville, about 30 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.

"The smell is so overwhelming in here," Wierenga said Friday during a tour with a WOOD-TV reporter.

"Some areas you can see the floor. Other areas you can't because they are stacked up in dog feces," he said.

The home formerly belonged to Marcie Tepper, who rescues animals and is the sheriff's appointee on the Barry County animal control/shelter advisory board. She told the TV station she euthanized the dogs because she was embarrassed that she couldn't find new homes for them after spending money on their care.

Sheriff Dar Leaf said Tepper is under investigation. Phone messages seeking further comment from Leaf and Tepper were not immediately returned Saturday.

WOOD-TV showed a dirty home still full of appliances and numerous animal cages.

The role of the animal advisory board is to improve operations at the Barry County shelter, reduce euthanasia and increase adoptions, said county commissioner Robert Houtman, a board member.

"I'm just sickened by the whole thing," Houtman told The Associated Press. "Disgusted. Nauseated by it, frankly. I had no idea what was going on. This is just 180 degrees away from the mission of the advisory board." He said he didn't know why the sheriff appointed Tepper.

"She was a strong voice of opposition to anything the board wanted to do," Houtman said.

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