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Trial date pushed back in Lenawee County animal cruelty case

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    Sharon Kay Evans listens during her hearing in January.

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    One of the 213 dogs seized from the property in Onsted, Mich., of Sharon Kay Evans.

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    The bones of a pregnant mare are slightly visible beneath her winter coat Thursday, January 31, 2018, at Starry Skies Equine Rescue near Ann Arbor.

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    Golden Retriever puppies clammer for attention Thursday, January 31, 2018, at the Lenawee County Humane Society in Adrian, Mich.

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    A mare grabs a drink of water as her foal rests Thursday, January 31, 2018, at Starry Skies Equine Rescue near Ann Arbor.

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    Lenawee County Humane Society Executive Director Marcie Cornell embraces one of the more than 100 dogs in the organization's care Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at their shelter in Adrian, Mich.

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ADRIAN — The trial date for a Michigan woman charged with felony animal cruelty after hundreds of animals were removed from a Rome Township property has been pushed to 2019.

Progress in the court case for Sharon Kay Evans, 53, has been slow, Capt. Jeff Ewald of the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office said. The captain oversees the department’s animal control division.

“We figured it would be done quicker,” he said.

Last week, Lenawee County Circuit Court moved the trial, which had been scheduled for later this month, to Jan. 15.

Ms. Evans ran a dog-breeding operation called Shalimar Farms and had a 2017 kennel license from the county allowing her to have up to 50 dogs, according to county records. A complaint from someone who bought a dog from Ms. Evans prompted the ongoing case.

Authorities removed 213 dogs, 32 horses, five cats, two peacocks, and a donkey in late December and early January from Ms. Evans’ property in the 8800 block of Shepherd Road south of Onsted, Mich. The sheriff’s office reported the animals had been living in deplorable conditions, most did not have water, and many were suffering from various medical issues caused by neglect.

Ms. Evans was then ordered in late January to forfeit ownership of the first group of animals by Lenawee County District Court. They all found new homes through area animal rescues.

She voluntarily relinquished ownership of all but three dogs, the parrot, and a cat from the second group. Those five animals remain in holding with the Lenawee Humane Society pending the outcome of the case, Capt. Ewald said.

Another 14 dogs, a peacock, an African grey parrot, and numerous cats and other fowl were removed in March. Ms. Evans was jailed from March 16 to April 26 for violating a condition of her bond in which she was not to possess any animals aside from one farm dog and some fowl.

Ms. Evans’ public defender, John Glaser, did not return a call seeking comment.

Capt. Ewald said discussions about a possible plea deal have been ongoing but may not be fruitful before trial.

“I think the main sticking point is that ... she doesn’t want to be stuck with not being allowed to have any animals,” he said. “That’s something we’re adamant about.”

Contact Alexandra Mester at: amester@theblade.com419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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