Lifestyle & Human Interest

'FINALLY': After 83 Days as 'Evidence,' Dogs from Cruelty Case Can Begin Looking for Forever Homes


On Jan. 30, police and rescuers descended upon a home animal shelter in Norton Shores, Michigan, where it appeared the best of intentions had gone horribly awry.

Cober’s Canine Rescue, while it may have started with promise, was a den of disease by the time its inhabitants were truly rescued.

“They were just in every room and every nook and cranny,” Lana Carson, director of Pound Buddies shelter in Muskegon, Michigan, said, according to WZZM-TV. “It is sad to see the conditions that they were kept in.”

Lisa Cober, the owner of the so-called rescue, was arrested and given a $1,000 bond, which she posted. Cober faces 25 counts of animal cruelty, but a trial date hasn’t been set yet.

In all, 78 dogs and puppies were removed from the premises and taken in by various rescues, including Pound Buddies — but the catch was that the poor animals were “live evidence” and could not be adopted out until the rescues were given the go-ahead.

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Harbor Humane in Ottowa County took in 20 of the dogs, including some of the sickest animals, and has been keeping followers apprised of the situation.

“If you’ve been following our stories about the 20 dogs Harbor took in from a ‘rescue’ (let’s be honest- hoarding) home in Norton Shores, then you already know that we have lost too many puppies to a deadly disease called distemper,” the rescue shared on Feb. 18.

“Distemper sucks. It attacks dogs/puppies’ respiratory tracts, GI tracts, and even their nervous systems. Many of the puppies we have said goodbye to have spent their last days seizing, coughing, and struggling to breathe.

“There is unfortunately no cure for distemper, but we throw all the supportive care we can at these pups to help give them a fighting chance. Even dogs that recover are left with lifelong medical challenges.”

Six of the 20 dogs Harbor Humane took in fell prey to the deadly disease, but they honored the dogs’ lives by posting about them to commemorate their short lives — taking the opportunity to urge people to vaccinate their dogs against the disease.

“Our staff and foster families have grieved over the loss and struggles of their short lives,” the rescue shared. “We will never forget these sweet babies and hope they are happy and disease free beyond the rainbow bridge.”

After 83 days, the rescue was finally given the green light on adopting out their charges.

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“FINALLY! After 83 days of being held in our care as live evidence, the Forfeiture Order for the Cober’s Canine dogs has come through!” Harbor Humane shared on Monday.

“Unfortunately, we lost six of the puppies shortly after from distemper. Pictured here are Noodle, Stitch, Petey, Eponine, Nort, and Apollo- who all lost their fight with distemper. We honor their lives and we are sad they were not able to be here today to live happily ever after.

“The surviving dogs will be made available later this week and will be looking for their forever homes.

“As the criminal case against Lisa Cober continues, we hope justice will be served and these lives were not lost in vain. However, we can rest just a little easier knowing that the surviving pups can never return to her care.”

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