ROGERS CITY - A Hawks woman convicted of felony animal cruelty has violated her probation, and will be sentenced Feb. 14.
Christine Kay Thompson received 18 months probation in August 2013 after pleading guilty to one count of animal abandonment or cruelty to four to 10 animals. Part of the terms of her probation were to not own animals, nor to be around or have control over animals, except for a handful of family pets, according to Presque Isle County Prosecutor Richard Steiger. However, Thompson is accused of handling horses at an event in Flint after she received probation.
A Presque Isle County probation officer received a call from someone who noticed Thompson in an online photograph from an event run by a Flint TV station in September, Steiger said. The officer found out from the event coordinator that Thompson was there, and obtained a contract she had signed for the event.
Steiger said Thompson claimed to be in Rogers City on the day of the event, and the photo in question was a year old. She told this to Judge Michael Mack, sitting in for 53rd Circuit Court Judge Scott Pavlich. Mack presided over her case because Deputy Dave Tomas, Presque Isle County's animal control officer, was a witness and also serves as a court officer for Pavlich.
Deputy Court Clerk Rose Przybyla, citing court files, said Thompson also testified she signed the contract on behalf of her husband, and the photographs showed animals that had been seized by the sheriff's department in November 2012. However, Deb Schleben, who had taken in some of the seized horses, said they weren't the same ones deputies took.
Ultimately, Mack ruled Thompson had violated her probation and asked the probation department to recommend a sanction, according to Przybyla.
Sentencing guidelines state she could spend up to nine months in the county jail, Steiger said.
"Simply put, I was very disappointed that she would not be candid with the judge, and that she would tell falsehoods under oath," he said.
A message left with Michael Vogler, Thompson's attorney, was not returned as of press time.
Deputies seized 33 horses, five dogs and three pigs from Thompson's farm in November 2012 after receiving a call of horses at large, according to preliminary hearing testimony. Two of the horses were put down on the advice of two veterinarians, and another testified the horses he saw appeared to be malnourished.
Thompson maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings, but eventually agreed to plead guilty to a lesser felony offense. Along with probation, she was ordered to pay nearly $26,000 in restitution to the county to cover the costs of boarding her seized animals.