NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. — The new owner of a dog who had to have a leather strap surgically removed from his head says he has made a nearly complete recovery, as his previous owner faces a charge of animal neglect.
3 dogs were allegedly found in poor condition on the property of breeder David Yoder back in March of this year. One of those dogs, Hank, had to have a leather strap surgically removed from around his head.
Yoder was initially scheduled to be arraigned on a charge of 'animals abandoning/cruelty to one animal' Thursday morning in front of Newaygo County District Court Judge Kevin Drake. When he didn't show up, the judge called Yoder's house to try and track him down.
"This is Judge Drake in the district courtroom in White Cloud. Is David Yoder there?" the Judge said into his phone.
A woman later identified as Yoder's wife responded, "He is not, he is at work right now."
Judge Drake responded, "He was supposed to contact the court today for an arraignment, first appearance... Well he didn’t do that so the only alternative I have is to issue a bench warrant for his arrest."
But during the call, the judge's staff finds that a notice to appear may not have been sent to Yoder's home.
“Its kind of hard to expect someone to call if they don’t get a notice," Judge Drake said at this point.
“Just disregard the call today, I'm going to order that the clerk send out another notice.”
Yoder is now set to be arraigned on September 24.
According to court documents obtained by FOX 17, Michigan State Police was sent to Yoder's property, where he bred and sold dogs, back in March to investigate several that were allegedly suffering from neglect.
At the property, a state trooper saw one of the dogs resorting to eating feces, leading him to believe they were not being fed regularly.
A State Trooper told a court magistrate that there were still over 12 dogs remaining at Yoder's property. The magistrate said in court before the proceeding was over, "the only thing I don't like is that he still has those darn animals."
But Hank, he is now in the loving arms of his new mom, Alex Govintz, who was working as a surgical assistant in the clinic where Hank was sent for surgery.
“I was mainly the one that would take care of him. He never cried in pain, he never grimaced when I would clean his wounds, he was just like the perfect patient you could ask for," Govintz told FOX 17 on Thursday.
She says Hank is already used to his new home, and has made a nearly complete recovery.
"What I have been most impressed by Hank is his ability to trust and his ability to overcome what happened to him. He is such a loving and happy dog now. It blows my mind to see how far he has come,” she said.
We will update this story when Yoder is arraigned later this month.