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AG Nessel Announces Charges in Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence Case

DETROIT – As part of the Department of Attorney General’s partnership with Michigan Humane, Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced charges against a Detroit man who is accused of torturing a small dog as part of his ongoing abuse and harassment of the dog’s owner, his former girlfriend.

A warrant was signed in the 36th District Court for Julius Holley, 55, of Detroit charging him with the following:

  • One count of second-degree home invasion, a 15-year felony and/or $3,000;
  • One count of first-degree killing/torturing of animals, a 10-year felony and/or $5,000;
  • One count of larceny in a building, a four-year felony and/or $5,000.00, and;
  • One count of stalking, a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000.00.

Holley, who is not yet in custody, allegedly broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home and took her Yorkshire Terrier mix dog, along with other items from the house.  Holley then sent his ex-girlfriend videos of him beating and torturing the dog.  Ultimately, the dog was left in a bucket next to a house and was taken by Michigan Humane to ensure it could not be abused again.

In Michigan, a person that tortures or kills a pet with the intent to cause mental suffering or distress to a person, or to exert control over a person, is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  

The 2019 law, MCL 750.50b(3), recognizes the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence and provides law enforcement with the tools necessary to hold dangerous perpetrators accountable.

“Animal abuse is cruel and sadistic.  It is also a crime that is often associated with other serious criminal activity, including domestic violence and abuse,” said Nessel.  “Law enforcement and Michigan Humane know that victims of domestic violence are often reluctant to leave a dangerous situation for fear of having to leave their pets behind.  I want to thank the Detroit Police Department and Michigan Humane investigators for their prompt attention to the victim’s calls for help.  Their swift action likely prevented even more horrendous violence. “

“All too often pets are used as weapons to control victims of domestic violence. There are many victims here and the collaboration between Michigan Humane and the Attorney General's office represents our commitment to ensuring justice for all of them. If find yourself in this situation and need help - we are here for you,” said Matt Pepper, President and CEO of Michigan Humane.

Michigan Humane provides a Safety Net pet fostering program for people who need a safe place to temporarily house their pets.  People in need of the service, or those looking to volunteer to foster animals in these situations, should call the MIchigan Humane at 866-648-6263.

A video of Attorney General Nessel regarding this case is available here.

Anyone with information regarding Holley should contact the Detroit Police Department at 313-586-5800.

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Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Attorney General's office does not provide booking photos.