By Jon King /

After being charged with animal cruelty, a Cohoctah Township couple is due back in court next month.

Margaret and Fredie Murphy were arraigned in August on a single count of abandoning, cruelty to 25 or more animals after an investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. According to a report, the couple most recently came to the attention of authorities on April 26th when a deputy responded to a stray horse complaint and determined that it belonged to the Murphy’s, who lived nearby on Cohoctah Road.

However, the deputy was soon contacted by Fowlerville Police Sgt. Jeff Soli who said he had been at the property a week before to purchase a horse and witnessed conditions that made him concerned for the welfare of the animals. After conferring with Livingston County Animal Control Deputy J.D. Delatorre, who had responded in 2017 to the property on a previous complaint, a search warrant was obtained and executed on April 30th.

During the inspection, it was discovered that more than 100 animals, including horses, rabbits, birds, and goats, were living in what were described as dangerous conditions. However, it was also noted that Fredie works 6 days a week while Margaret suffers from medical issues and that they were the only ones caring for the animals. In addition, they had made attempts to provide care where they could.

The Murphy’s are set to appear in front of Livingston County District Court Judge Daniel Bain on October 5th for a probable cause conference. If convicted on the charges, they could face up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.