Success: Animal Hoarder Banned From Owning Animals


Target: Alpena County Prosecutor K. Edward Black

Goal: Applaud successful prosecution of animal hoarder, who will face five years of probation and be banned from owning animals.

An animal hoarder convicted of animal cruelty has been sentenced to five years of probation. Debra Lewandowski pleaded guilty following pressure from the prosecution and petitions like this, which spoke out against the neglect of the animals in her care. Lewandowski is banned from owning animals and must seek psychiatric help for her condition. If she violates this order from the judge, she will serve six months behind bars.

The prosecution put forward a strong case and called on key witnesses to share the animals’ side of the story, since they couldn’t speak for themselves. Witnesses testified that the animals were found in terrible condition. One veterinarian shared that two horses, a donkey, and a dog needed to be put down because of the poor state they were in.

Humane societies, the foster parents, and many animal rights activists are disappointed with the fact that Lewandowski did not receive actual jail time. However, the Honorable Judge Michael Mack decided that animal hoarding was a condition better treated with therapy than mandatory jail time. Even so, half a decade of probation time is remarkably strict. Along with being banned from owning animals, Lewandowski must check in periodically to prove she is following orders.

While this is admittedly not as strict a punishment as jail time, it is a constant reminder of her actions and forces her to come to terms with this every day. Sign the petition to show your support for her conviction, and to thank the prosecution for the strong case he raised against her.


Dear Mr. Black,

I write this letter to thank you again for the measures you and your team took to ensure the animals found on Debra Lewandowski’s property received the absolute best care. I also want to thank you for the great case you raised against Lewandowski. Humane societies, the new foster parents of the abused animals, and individual animal rights activists truly appreciate the work you did. We understand that there is little that can be done when the defense takes the plea, and makes a plausible case for “insanity.”

Regardless of the fact that Lewandowski was not given mandatory jail time, there are still wins to be celebrated. Half a decade is a long time to be watched by and to check in with law enforcement. She will have to live with the consequences of her actions for a long time. In addition to this, being robbed of the privilege of owning an animal will likely feel like punishment enough for an animal hoarder.

Thank you again for your contributions to this case, and may you have better wins in the cases that follow.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lori Stephan

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  1. God Bless you for making sure this sick woman can Never own any animals ever again. If this was done more often there would finally be justice for the abuse too many animals suffer.

  2. lisa holmes says:

    I’ve been following this case over the months, and I am extremely thankful for this ruling. I do believe, though, that she really should still be ordered to obtain mental medical care. She is obviously mentally ill and needs help. That part should not be downplayed or neglected – hope she eventually does get this help for the sake of all.

  3. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Thank God!!! 😀
    Signed & Shared.

  4. I know is at least something, but c’mon, big deal, probation… how about a jail time?

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