Pet store owner gets probation in cruelty cases

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 28, 2013

 The owner of Greenwood Pets & Plants was sentenced to probation for two years after he pleaded no contest to allegations of animal abandonment and cruelty in two separate cases.

The owner of Greenwood Pets & Plants was sentenced to probation for two years after he pleaded no contest to allegations of animal abandonment and cruelty in two separate cases.

Photo by Brian C. Louwers

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WARREN — A Warren pet shop owner accused of animal abandonment and cruelty in two separate cases has been banned from keeping animals and sentenced to two years of probation after pleading no contest in Macomb County Circuit Court.

According to court records, Dennis Jones, 57, of Pontiac, was also ordered to pay a yet-to-be-determined amount of restitution at his sentencing Aug. 20.

The sentence covers two separate cases stemming from allegations of abandonment and cruelty at his store, Greenwood Pets & Plants on Nine Mile east of Schoenherr, in 2012 and 2013.

On May 15, Warren police arrested Jones after a city inspector, reportedly sent to the store to enforce a judgment of property on an unrelated civil court case, notified animal control officers about the store’s conditions.

Warren Animal Control officer Lisa Taylor later said at least 60 animals were removed from Greenwood and taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment. She said the animals — iguanas, a 6-foot albino python, farm animals, dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, and many birds — were taken from the store after they were found in dirty, overcrowded conditions.

A previous cruelty allegation reportedly involved a goat that developed a medical condition.

The charge of abandoning/ cruelty to animals is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

Reached at the store Aug. 21, Jones declined to discuss the case before speaking with his attorney, Stephen Rabaut, who had not returned a phone call from the Warren Weekly seeking comment at press time.

Pam Sordyl, founder of the animal advocacy group Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, said Greenwood had been on the organization’s radar since 2009, when she began looking into its procurement and sale of puppies.

Sordyl said she met with Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and police administrators prior to the incident with the goat in 2012 based on observations by the group’s members.

“All you have to do is see the photos that were released. This guy was out of control,” Sordyl said. “To me, the animals dying being in his care and the neglect, and the number of animals, he should have received at least five-years probation. The laws don’t allow that.”

A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for the purposes of sentencing.

According to court records, Jones was also sentenced to six-months in jail, but the jail sentence was held in abeyance pending his successful completion of probation.

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