ALLEGAN, MI (WHTC) - An Allegan County couple will face criminal charges in connection with the seizure of more than 350 dogs from their home earlier this week. A spokeswoman for 57th District Court in Allegan says 64-year-old Cheri Rae Burke and her 64-year-old husband, George, are charged with one count each of "animals absconding/cruelty to 10 or more animals." The Burkes were scheduled to appear for arraignment at 4 p.m. Wednesday in District Court before Magistrate Kirby Goodwin.
The dogs, primarily Shih Tzu, Pomeranian and Yorkshire Terrier mixes, are in good condition at the Allegan County animal shelter. Officials of the Saugatuck/Douglas Area Business Alliance are leading efforts to enlist support for the Allegan County Animal Shelter that has been overwhelmed since the case broke over the weekend. In a press release, SABA Administrator Fred Schmidt said, "The shelter is in need of donations, such as blankets, towels, sheets, food, cleaning supplies - bleach, paper towels, rubber gloves, etc. Also, any money you can spare so that these little ones can be groomed, bathed, vaccinated and then adopted out to a loving family! Please call the Allegan County Shelter with donations at (269) 686-5112. With Our Hands, 303 Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck, will be holding a drive for any donations this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11-5. For more information, call With Our Hands at (269) 857-4138."