June 13, 2007 LAPEER — Charges of animal killing, torture and abuse were dismissed Monday against Kate Mills of Imlay Township.
However, she could still be called on by prosecutors to testify against her family members.
The 20-year-old MSU student had been the subject of animal abuse charges along with her parents, Mark and Ellen Mills, and brother, Andrew, 19.
Defense Attorney David Richardson argued that Kate Mills was not living at home on March 16, when Sheriff's deputies and Animal Control officers searched and found a dead horse and several dead lambs on the Mills' Weyer Road property.
District Court Judge Laura Barnard dismissed all charges against Kate, based on proof of her residency in East Lansing before and at the time of the search.
Prosecutors alleged that based on veterinary records, the Mills' daughter was listed as the owner of the horse and three dogs confiscated from the property.
Prosecutor Byron Konschuh said the dogs were underweight and malnourished, adding that they could have died of starvation had they not been treated by a county veterinarian.
Mark Mills said the dismissal of charges against his daughter is the first, in what he feels, will be a series of vindications for family members.
"We're very pleased," said Mills. "Once these hearings are completed, we believe we'll all be vindicated. It could be a very long process, but we're working our way through it."
Prosecutor Byron Konschuh says the case against Mills' family members proceeds, with the likelihood that Kate Mills will be called to testify.
The preliminary hearing for Mark, Ellen and Andrew Mills resumes on Thurs., June 28 at 9 a.m. in Judge Barnard's courtroom.