CASSOPOLIS — A Flint area woman who left her dogs inside her car while she gambled at the Four Winds Casino in Dowagiac has pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted animal killing or torturing. She will be sentenced June 28 in Cass County Circuit Court.
Sherrill Langford, 50, of Davison, Mich., was arrested April 7 by Pokagon Tribal Police outside the Four Winds Casino near Dowagiac after two dogs were found dead inside her car at the casino. A third dog was severely dehydrated. The dog that survived was turned over to Cass Animal Control.
Langford was initially charged with seven charges: three felony counts of killing/torturing animals – each carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison, two misdemeanor counts of cruelty/abandonment of animals causing death, one misdemeanor count of cruelty/abandonment of two to three animals and one misdemeanor count of lying to a police officer.
Langford’s plea came at her arraignment Tuesday in Cass County Circuit Court before Judge Mark Herman. Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said the plea agreement calls for Langford to be placed on two years probation and the original seven charges to be dismissed.
If she is successful on probation, Fitz said the felony counts will be vacated and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals will be placed on her record. The maximum penalty for the attempted killing or torturing of animals carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Langford said in court that she went into the casino around 9 a.m. that day and lost track of time. She said the outdoor temperature was around 60 degrees when she went into the casino. She said she was approached by police and casino security around 5 p.m. that day and they told her that two of her dogs had died.
“Yes, my actions were reckless,” she told Judge Herman. “I loved my animals.”
Fitz said the agreement does not include a recommendation regarding jail. Fitz said he will be asking for Langford to spend some time in jail, but the decision will be up to Judge Herman.