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Bloomfield Hills — A couple blamed for the largest animal hoarding case in Oakland County's history have been charged with felony offenses that carry up to four years in prison.

Jonathan and Jennifer Klein, who owned an unoccupied West Bloomfield Township home where 178 cats were found, were arraigned Monday before 48th District Judge Diane D'Agostini on charges of abandonment and cruelty to 10 or more animals. The offense is 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.

The Kleins each posted $1,000 bond and were released pending a June 20 probable cause conference before Judge Marc Barron.

Investigators said the animals were discovered by an animal control officer looking into a welfare check at the address. The animals were found living without food or water and in filthy conditions, most of them malnourished and suffering from respiratory problems, injuries and flea infestations. At least 60 cats had to be euthanized.

Authorities say it was not known why the couple had been hoarding the animals for about a year in the 1790 block of Elsie while they lived at a different address.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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