West Bloomfield woman charged with animal cruelty, neglect

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 30, 2019


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Nearly a month after police seized nine dogs from a home in West Bloomfield for alleged hoarding and neglect, the keeper of those animals has been arraigned on an animal cruelty charge.

Debra Lynn Rammacher, 52, also known by the alias Debbi Atkins-Thrope, was arraigned April 24 in the 48th District Court for reportedly failing to provide four or more but fewer than 10 animals with adequate care. The allegation stems from the March 18 recovery of 11 dogs from Rammacher’s home on Hauser Way in West Bloomfield Township.

Oakland County Animal Control officers were made aware of the dogs after dozens of other dogs were seized from the defendant’s other property, on the grounds of Aaron Moishe Cemetery in Roseville, days earlier. Thirty-three dogs were taken from that location due to health and sanitation concerns, and a total of 43 dogs were found housed in various types of cages in a garage near living quarters on the cemetery property.

In West Bloomfield, officers cited mold problems and water leaks as issues of concern in the area where the dogs were housed. Of the nine animals seized that day, five remain in the care of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and one was returned to its owner with the help of microchip identification. Three of the dogs were humanely euthanized because of their poor health.

The case was called complex, according to Bob Gatt, the manager of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center. He said the charge sends a clear message to residents that animal abuse or neglect will not be tolerated in the community.

He noted the newly announced public-private partnership between the county’s animal shelter, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan Humane Society, which allows the agencies to combine resources in large cases of hoarding or abuse to expedite emergency seizure and, if applicable, prosecution.

“We’re all elated with our new enhanced partnership with the Michigan Humane Society,” Gatt said in an email. “In this case, we took in only nine dogs and had room. However, had we encountered as many dogs as they had in Roseville, we would most likely have reached out to the MHS for help in housing and caring for the animals.”

Rammacher, who cooperated with investigators, turned herself in to police for the arraignment. She faces up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine if convicted. She’s due back in front of Judge Kimberly Small on May 6.

At press time, no attorney was listed for Rammacher in the case.