FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A woman who ran a now-condemned animal rescue operation in western Michigan that was overrun with more than 1,000 rats is facing an animal neglect charge.
The Muskegon Chronicle and our media partner MLive are reporting that 53-year-old Christine Lea Bishop of Muskegon County’s Fruitport Township was arraigned Monday on the felony charge.
Her lawyer Susan Knoll says in an email Wednesday she’s not commenting and is concerned about Bishop getting a fair trial.
Bishop ran Critter Cafe Rescue and has said the rat population started with a cage of pet rats left outside the rented building in winter. Rabbits, ducks and cats also were cared for at the animal rescue. The rescue operation was effectively shut down by authorities in mid-May.
Bishop faces up to 8 years behind bars if convicted, but prosecutors are asking for a mental-health evaluation and a long probation term.