Metro / Police/Courts

Farmer pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charge

A Deerfield Township farmer charged with felony animal cruelty pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Monday at the Isabella County Trial Court.

John Montross, 29, faces up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine if he is found guilty of animal cruelty. At least 71 calves were found dead on his farm on Remus Road.

Court records show Isabella County Animal Control, which has led the investigation in the case, found several more calves buried under hay and snow at his property.

A warrant for Montross’ arrest was issued on April 9.

Isabella County Trial Judge Eric Janes set Montross’ preliminary hearing for Thursday at 8:15 a.m.

As a member of the Deerfield Township Planning Commission, Montross turned himself into police last week. He was later released on $3,000 bond.

He is represented by Defense Attorney Keeley Heath.

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