Woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty a year after 78 dogs removed from West Michigan home

MUSKEGON, MI – The owner of a now-defunct dog rescue shelter admitted to animal cruelty after dozens of canines were found in deplorable living conditions in and around the woman’s home.

About a year ago, investigators removed 78 dogs from Lisa Marie Cober’s business that she ran out of her home in Norton Shores. Dogs were locked in cages and in some cases, living in urine and feces.

Cober, 44, was recently before a judge in Muskegon County Circuit Court with her trial scheduled to begin this month. At the March 7 hearing, Cober accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors.

RELATED: How to adopt one of the dogs rescued in Muskegon County animal cruelty case

Per the deal, Cober pleaded guilty to a single count of abandon/cruelty to 25 or more animals, court records show. In exchange, prosecutors will recommend Cober not serve any jail time up front and be placed on a five-year probation period, records state.

When Cober appears before Judge Matthew Kacel for sentencing May 6, she could be ordered to not have possession of any animals.

The case started in late January 2023 when Norton Shores police removed 78 dogs from Cober’s Canine Rescue on Sheffield Street. The business is no longer deemed an accredited establishment.

All 78 dogs were processed at Pound Buddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center in Muskegon and then the animals were divided up and sent to different state-regulated shelters in West Michigan. Some of the dogs died in the weeks after the rescue.

In the midst of the case, Muskegon County prosecutors filed a summons and complaint to have Cober forfeit her rights to the remaining dogs in order for the animals to be rehomed. A judge ruled in prosecutors’ favor and the dogs became available for adoption.

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