Arraignment has been held for the former director and an employee of a local animal shelter, both of whom are facing criminal animal cruelty charges.

70-year-old Sharen Anne Kizer and 65-year-old Valerie Jay Cunnings, both of Howell, were arraigned today in 53rd District Court. Kizer is charged with abandoning/cruelty to 10 or more animals, while Cunnings is charged with abandoning/cruelty to less than 10 animals. The charges stem from violations found at Last Chance Rescue in Howell Township, where Kizer was the director and Cunnings was an employee.

Livingston County Animal Control had received complaints about the facility’s conditions and care of animals. In December, Animal Control officers found violations that prompted them to seize about 120 animals. Animal Control Director Aimee Orn previously told WHMI when on scene, there were great concerns for the safety and well-being of the animals and they were not comfortable leaving them there.

Kizer’s attorney, Steven Lacommare, said some of the animals seized were not owned by Kizer or Last Chance Rescue and they should have been returned to their rightful owners immediately.

Kizer’s personal bond was set at $10,000 and Cunnings was set at $5,000. Both women are free on bond and return to court later this month for a probable cause conference. (DK)