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AG Nessel Prosecutes Detroit Man Under State Law that Recognizes Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence

DETROIT – Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced that a Detroit man accused of torturing a small dog as part of his ongoing abuse and harassment of his former girlfriend, will stand trial. 

Julius Holley, 55, of Detroit waived his preliminary exam and was bound over for trial by Judge Larry Williams at the 36th District Court in Wayne County on the following charges:

  • One count of first-degree home invasion, a 20-year felony and/or $5,000;
  • 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.

The Department of Attorney General alleges Holley entered his ex-girlfriend’s home without her permission 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.

“Law enforcement is all too familiar with the link between domestic violence and animal abuse,” said Nessel.  “State law that rightfully acknowledges the relationship between these two crimes provides prosecutors with the tools necessary to hold accountable these violent offenders.” 

Holley is scheduled to be arraigned in circuit court on December 27.

The case against Holley is part of a partnership between the Department of Attorney General and Michigan Humane to investigate and prosecute animal abuse crimes.  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.

Portions of this project are funded in part by Grant No. WE AX 0030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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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.