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Tenants renting home find animal remains months after moving in

By Kendall Keys and James Paxson

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    SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Michigan (WNEM) — A Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office deputy called a recent animal cruelty case one of the worst they have ever seen.

“We were pretty desperate for housing,” said Ashton Mitchell.

Mitchell, Pierceson Wilder, and Cheyenne Wiley say the home they ended up in was owned by Mitchell’s stepsister. It later became the focus of an animal cruelty investigation.

“She kept going, ‘I’m going to clean it up and let you guys get in there,’ and eventually she just let us move in without cleaning any of it first.” Mitchell said.

The home in the Village Bancroft was hardly livable, but the trio went to work and cleaned up what they could.

“Not knowing why yet, there were dead flies everywhere and there was a dead mouse in the sink. We had to clean, like seriously,” Mitchell said.

There was one area of the home they could not get to. The master bathroom upstairs was padlocked shut.

“We’re paying for this bathroom, like we should be able to use it,” Mitchell said.

At the end of November, they wanted access to it. They cut the lock.

“We only got to open the door like six inches at the very most because a dog’s body was behind the door. We started opening it and a wave of dust and hair flew out from under the door. That was when we realized that it was something bad. And then the entire house just instantly filled with the smell of death,” Wilder said.

They recognized the color of the hair saying it was the color of Mitchell’s stepsister’s two dogs Copper and Chief.

Mitchell said they did the math of how long Copper and Chief may have been locked away in that bathroom.

“It was roughly nine months in total that they spent in the bathroom, three of which we had lived underneath them,” Mitchell said.

Now the three roommates want justice for Copper and Chief.

Jordan Hoisington was charged with two felony counts of animal killing and torturing.

“It was about them getting their names, Copper and Chief out there. Heard, known, and loved for once finally, maybe even. They spent their first birthday in that bathroom,” Mitchell said.

They have all since moved out and the home now sits vacant.

Hoisington pleaded not guilty March 1. She is scheduled for a probable cause conference March 30 and a preliminary examination April 5.

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