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Animal advocate faces charges in dead dog case

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:50 AM

The remains of the dogs were discovered last week. A man who bought the home in Barry County's Thornapple Township was cleaning the yard and found the bodies in trash bags near the garage.

"It was really odd to me that these dogs were just kind of disposed of this way," the new homeowner, Kurt Wierenga, said.

The home had been owned by Marcie Tepper, who has worked with the Barry County Animal Shelter for 17 years and is the liaison to the animal control advisory board.

She has yet to appear in court on the charges. No attorney was listed for her in court records, and she did not immediately return a phone message to The Associated Press on Wednesday seeking comment.

Tepper told WOOD-TV last week that she no longer could care for the dogs or find new homes so she euthanized them. She also said she could not afford to keep up payments on the house because she spent most of her money caring for the dogs.

"I got so angry when I lost my home," she told the television station.

Wierenga bought the house in April, but could not get inside until October. When he did, Wierenga said he found one live and one dead dog inside, along with piles of trash and dog kennels.

"You can't even be in the house without a respirator," he said.

The Barry County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of the dogs, but county commissioners want state police to take over the probe because Sheriff Dar Leaf appointed Tepper to the advisory board.

Tepper was recommended for the Barry County job after helping decrease the rates of euthanasia in neighboring Ionia County, Leaf said.

"She was very knowledgeable about what you can and can't do," he said. "She has done this for decades, and she's been very good."

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