12 ponies, 1 dog found dead from starvation after owner’s death goes unnoticed

Residents in one mid-Michigan community want answers after a woman and several animals were found dead.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 11:38 AM EST
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GAINES TWP., Mich. (WNEM/Gray News) - Residents in one mid-Michigan community want answers after a woman and 13 of her animals were found dead.

Gilda Mizell, 64, was found dead inside her vehicle in the driveway of her home in Gaines Township, just south of Grand Rapids. Authorities found 12 dead ponies and a dead dog inside the house and in barns on the property.

Michigan State Police said they believe Mizell died of natural causes and then the animals died of starvation. At this point, it is unclear how long Mizell was dead before her body was found. Police said they are waiting on results from the medical examiner.

“Why did it get to this point that nobody reached out to anybody and nothing was done about it?” said Gaines Township resident Sherry Lange. “I was just absolutely astounded that something like this took place in our community and nobody had been aware of it.”

By the time MSP troopers arrived at the barn, there was only one horse and two dogs still alive. New homes were found for the three animals.

“Ms. Mizell was the only caregiver for these animals and unfortunately, she’s deceased and there’s nobody that was responsible for taking care of these animals,” MSP Lt. Kim Vetter said. “There’s nobody else to hold accountable.”

According to MSP, the dead ponies have been buried.

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