Local couple arraigned in cat hoarding case

A couple who owned a West Bloomfield Township home that was the site of an animal hoarding case involving 178 cats has been arraigned in Oakland County 48th District Court. On Monday, Judge Diane D’Agostini arraigned Jonathan and Jennifer Klein on one count each of abandonment/cruelty to 10 or more animals, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and up to 500 hours of community service.

“These charges represent a lot of outstanding work and commitment by Oakland County Animal Control Officer Rachel Whitlock and the rest of our animal control staff along with our partners at the Michigan Humane Society,” said Bob Gatt, manager of Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center. “They have given a voice to 178 cats who were living in deplorable conditions.”

D’Agostini set bond at $10,000, 10 percent for both Kleins with conditions which include neither having contact with nor possessing any animals during the court process. After the arraignment, the Kleins each posted $1,000 bond and were released. The Kleins are scheduled for a probable cause conference on June 20 at 8:45 a.m. in Judge Marc Barron’s courtroom.

The charges stem from an investigation by Oakland County animal control officers who checked on the welfare of cats at a home on Elsie Drive in West Bloomfield on April 24.

Whitlock and other officers observed at least six cats that needed immediate medical attention. A search warrant was obtained to enter the home where they discovered many more cats living in poor and unsanitary conditions. Over several weeks, animal control officers seized 178 cats from the home. Nearly all cats needed medical attention. At least 60 had to be euthanized because of medical problems. Once the animal control officers completed the investigation, they presented the case to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The prosecutor’s office authorized charges and a warrant was sworn to Friday, June 7. The Klein’s voluntarily turned themselves into the court on Monday.


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