Millses criticize abuse charges
I find it interesting that several papers in this county have been unable to print a complete story regarding the animal abuse case in Imlay City. Most people believe that just because they came out and charged us that we must be guilty of something, yet to date the prosecution has not succeeded at anything except costing the taxpayers of this county a fortune.
All charges have been dropped against both of our children, all felony charges have been dropped against us. We did give up the dogs that were stolen, but that was a family decision that was made. We have tried our best to move on and we felt that it would be detrimental to our family to relive the nightmare we have been through for the past one-and-a-half years. We also felt it would be detrimental to the dogs to rip them from another home that they hopefully have readjusted to.
What the papers have refused to inform the taxpayers is that the judge awarded no money to the prosecutors or animal control. They received nothing because all the evidence pointed to the fact that these animals were under vet care. They love telling people that these dogs were determined to be malnourished. That is a lie, it was determined that they had whipworms, and we had documented proof that they were being treated for it by a vet.
They love telling people that we didn't cooperate with them, however in the videotape made by officers at our home, it clearly shows us offering them our paperwork and them stating that they weren't interested in seeing it. Also, for the one-and-a-half hour raid on our home, only about 10 minutes of the tape came out. Luckily for us it was the part where we offered documentation.
One other major item that conveniently has been left out of the papers is that a federal lawsuit has been filed on our daughter's behalf and one is currently being filed on behalf of our son that will ultimately end up costing taxpayers again. They tell people that they knew nothing about the case, however as the case was nearing deposition, an untimely appeal (one year late) was filed by prosecutors in an effort to ward off this case until after the election. However those appeals were thrown out at both the district and circuit court levels. Sounds to me like they don't want the taxpayers of this county to find out what they did and how much it is costing everyone.
Byron Konschuh has spoken to several tv stations where he stated "They didn't know who to charge so they charged everyone." Also, after the felonies were dismissed he stated to the news that "we never really thought they were abusing animals." That should make Lapeer County residents feel safe at night that they are randomly charging people just to make a case.
I am sure that there will be many people who will blame us for costs that the county has incurred and call us terrible people for filing suit. Perhaps you can imagine for just one second what our family has been through—death threats, loss of jobs and reputations. Amazingly you find out that you have friends that you never thought and the ones that you thought you had are afraid that they will do the same thing to them. I hope people in this county can sleep at night and not fear an unwarranted raid on their families. I know we will never be the same again.
Editor's note: Byron Konschuh said it is difficult to comment on pending cases, but confirmed that charges against the Mills' children were dropped by the judge.
Failure to bury dead animals and other charges are still pending against Ellen and Mark Mills, Konschuh said. Konschuh said statute allows that all caretakers may be charged if it is not clear at the time who is responsible.
"I do not think they were intentionally abusing their animals but there are allegations that they're not taking care of them," Konschuh said. "These are not random charges. We are responding to complaints from neighbors, witnesses and other police officers."
Konschuh said the prosecutor's office never requested monetary damages, they sought that the animals be forfeited so they could be placed in caring environments.
Konschuh said a new felony charge for alleged witness intimidation is pending against Ellen Mills.
Konschuh confirmed that a federal lawsuit filed by Kate Mills is pending, adding that as far as he knew no deposition had been scheduled.
Mark and Ellen Mills, Imlay Township
November 05, 2008