The Kalamazoo Humane Society was able to offer a helping hand to Kalamazoo County Animal Services this February while they executed a search warrant at the home of Kelvin Thomas for the second time. Now, just 9 months after Faith Temple Church of God Bishop T.D. Lockett proclaimed that he felt Thomas was being framed, Thomas, a former church Elder, has pled to felony dog fighting charges making this his 3rd conviction for dog fighting. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, Thomas has now accepted the harshest penalty to be handed down to a dog fighter in Kalamazoo County history.
For those following this case, we know the hope was that he would receive jail time, however due to the sentencing guidelines, we're happy to say he's getting the max penalty he can receive at this time, based on the charges he pled to. If he fails to meet the requirements of his probation, jail/prison time is still an option.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - An Oshtemo Township man charged for the third time with animal fighting is taking a plea deal.
10 dogs were taken from Kelvin Thomas' home in February.
The United States Humane Society was even called in to help with recovery.
Despite being a habitual offender, Thomas isn't expected to face jail time for these crimes. Instead he'll have to complete several classes, and serve years of probation.
Thomas waived his right to a trial in court on Tuesday.
"He told the officer he owned 7 dogs, records show none were registered," said Steve Lawrence, the Kalamazoo County Director of Animal Services. "None of them had water, several we think all were anxious to get into a warm place."
10 young dogs were taken from Thomas' Oshtemo Township home this Feburary.
Dogs experts say he was training them to fight.
"They were able to find that he had been advertising the dogs or the puppies which they do for fighting dogs," Lawrence said.
36 dogs were taken from the same home back in 2012.
Thomas was ordered to two years probation at the time.
"Michigan has some of the best cruelty laws in the country; the problem is the penalty for them is not as strict as it needs to be in some cases," Lawrence said.
Now, jail time will likely be waived, but his probation extended, thanks to stronger animal cruelty laws passed since his first charge.
Thomas will be sentenced in January.
If he violates any of his probation terms, he could also serve jail time.
He's not allowed to own any animals during that time.