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Posted on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Jenny's Market owner Burton Hoey pleads no contest to animal cruelty

By Cindy Heflin

The owner of a popular farm market west of Dexter has pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, the Humane Society of Huron Valley said Friday.

Burton Hoey, who operates Jenny’s Market at Island Lake and Dexter-Pinckney roads, is scheduled for sentencing on March 28, the humane society said in a news release.


Burton Hoey tends to a horse at Jenny's Market in this file photo file photo

The market is a popular spot in the fall for families seeking cider, doughnuts, pumpkins and pony rides.

Humane Society investigators seized two horses, four donkeys and two goats from Jenny’s Market Sept. 6, alleging they were in varying stages of neglect. A horse, which was suffering from the respiratory disease heaves, later died, lead cruelty investigator Matt Schaecher said.

Hoey was initially charged with three counts of cruelty to two to three animals. Prosecutors dropped one charge, Schaecher said.

A no-contest plea is not admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

“We’ve been to Jenny’s Farm Market numerous times over the past 10 years because of complaints of abused and neglected animals,” said Schaecher. “We see this conviction as a victory for the many animals that have suffered. We know there are many community members and families that will feel the same.”

Hoey said Friday that he had agreed to the no-contest plea in exchange for a reduction from $11,000 to $4,000 in the amount of money he would have to pay for boarding the seized animals and also to save money on legal fees.

"I might have lost anyway," he said. "I didn't stand a chance from the day they came here."

He said the seizure of the animals was unjust.

“Someone set me up to get the Humane Society to come out here and take some of the animals that were being treated,” he said.

In September, Hoey said the organization overreacted in seizing the animals.

He said he was treating the horse with heaves as best he could, but a veterinarian had told him nothing could be done for her, he said.

The other seized horse had an abscess on its hoof that Hoey said had already healed.

Hoey said the Humane Society said the donkeys’ hooves needed trimming, but he said he acquired them last fall from someone who had not trimmed their feet, and he was in the process of gradually trimming them back.

As for the goats, he said investigators thought they were underweight, but Hoey said they were underfed when he bought them months ago and he has been nourishing them back to health.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and and/or a $2,000 fine and/or 300 hours of community service, but Schaecher said it’s typical in such cases for the court to impose a fine and probation and order the defendant to make restitution.

The humane society will ask the court to bar Hoey from contact with animals during his probation, Schaecher said. Hoey said he still has five Percheron horses on the property.

The humane society is adopting out the seized animals. The goats seized from the market have already been adopted but two miniature donkeys and two full-size donkeys as well as one horse are available for adoption. For information about adopting them, email or call (734) 661-3511.

The animal cruelty case is one in a series of problems for Hoey’s business that began in September 2011 when a hayride accident paralyzed an employee. The employee has sued over the incident. Lawyers are working out a settlement in the case.

The day after the accident, Webster Township delivered a stop-work order to the market alleging violations of zoning ordinances.

In late October that year, Hoey reported that two men attacked him at the market and stole several months worth of proceeds at the business. Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies have dropped their investigation of the attack, saying Hoey wasn't cooperating and had failed a polygraph test.

Hoey sued Webster Township in April 2012 over its refusal to grant him a permit to install a bathroom. In denying the permit, township officials said Hoey had failed to submit a required site plan. Hoey and the township still are working toward a settlement.

Last fall, the township brought a complaint against Jenny’s Market, alleging that what Hoey calls a “haunted straw maze” is a public nuisance and unsafe. Judge Timothy Connors denied a request for a preliminary injunction seeking to have the maze shut down. Hoey and the township also are working toward a settlement in that case.



Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

I don't know anything about this guy. However, just on general principle, I'd rather see him go out of business because people dismiss and shun him than to have him be put out of business by the township citing him for a never ending series of minor violations. If Hoey is the ogre that some make him out to be then it shouldn't take long with all the bad will such actual behavior would generate. Those that say that someone wants his land should explain why they think that.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

Poor Burton. Seems he is always the victim. He 's always being set up by evil forces, the public.

Ann Arbor Nurse

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

I don't anything about the guy other than what I've read on, but it sure does seem like someone is out to get him. Whether he is "guilty" or not I feel for him.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

@justcurious has the description nailed! When you see the movie "Les Miserables," a key character is Thenardier, the Innkeeper. Think of Thenardier when you consider this case.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

The employee at the cash register actually told us that was what they were doing.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

I didn't know about the pies but, I believe it. When I was there years ago they had a big barrel full of jars with a variety of contents in them soaking in water so they could remove the labels and replace them with their own.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 3:36 a.m.

Mary Armbruster is permanently paralyzed because of his unsafe practices. His comments on that are enough to make anyone cringe.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

If you lived in the community for any length of time you would know the unbelievable things that he has done in the past that were so far out of the realm of good citizenship and normal behavior that you would never defend him. Yes, he has got away with a lot of things in the past and did things to people and businesses that were very wrong. He still insists that the Gordon Foods pies he repackages are his own, he blatantly displays a sign saying he has a horse drawn cider mill when he has no cider mill at all, he has consistently added on to the "farm stand" he started with, thumbing his nose at the township, he does not grow the things he sells but plays on the sympathy of people who think he is a farmer. He uses the horses and ponies in ways that profit him and often harm them. He has been in trouble with the utility companies for "using" their services illegally, he has had mysterious fires several times. Locals could go on and on. But you think it's a witch hunt.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

Agreed. For some reason a few commenters have decided its ok to say awful things about this guy. I thought Dexter people better than that.

tom swift jr.

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

I'm waiting for someone to blame Obama.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Bush did it


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

I'm sure it will come.

concerned citizen

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Buton should start living by OUR LAWS. He, like Ernie bateson are always being pick on. They never do anything wrong. Or, is it they do anything right? burton should stop putting his signs on out road right of ways. I have taken down 20 of his signs in Scio only to have him replace them the same day. I will see to it that he never has any of his signs on the Jackson Road median in Scio ever again. They get torn and given to Recycling as soon as they go up. Burton should follow Ernie's example and appeal everything to the Court of Appeals. That delays things by several years and would give him time to establish a new place that does not comply with the Zoning ordinance and jump between townships to keep everyone off guard.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Gotta love that Hoey pleads no contest, and there's still his defenders calling it a witch-hunt...


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Baby steps towards a brighter future: I'm looking forward to that bright and shining day that Hoey finally sells that place or it gets shutdown permanently...


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

Maybe I just missed this, but will he be allowed to keep the animals currently on his property?


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Maybe not long enough...which should be for life. "The humane society will ask the court to bar Hoey from contact with animals during his probation, Schaecher said. Hoey said he still has five Percheron horses on the property."

Laura Jones

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

Because in the investigation they were not found to be mistreated. This was a neglect charge, not abuse.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

That's sure what I want to know too.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Burt is a lying, cheating poor excuse of a person.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

Always an excuse. Always the victim.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

There goes the myth of the responsible business owner.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

This reminds me of that movie The Ox-Bow Incident or better yet Frankenstein were the villagers with pitchforks & torches chase down the EVIL monster & kill him. Who will be the one to throw the 1st stone ? There's more going on here then meets the eye!


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Are you actually suggesting that everyone abuses their animals? That would be the meaning of throwing the first stone. That's just absurd. The majority of people take good care of their animals.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

No its not that bad! Just want EVIL out of Dexter! we are a Great community that does not want EVIL in it!

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Ten years!! There have been complaints and investigations by the Humane Society for all the years Hoey has been in business. Hoey always blames someone else for his problems.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

"We've been to Jenny's Farm Market numerous times over the past 10 years because of complaints of abused and neglected animals," said Schaecher. "We see this conviction as a victory for the many animals that have suffered. We know there are many community members and families that will feel the same." I was going along with this until I read that quote. Yes, I've read many times about how the HSHV has been there. Yet, this seems to be the first and only time he's been brought on charges. Why is that? I recall a few years back an investigator was sent and she said the animals are being cared for--Hoey could do a better job and build a shade lean-to, but otherwise there was nothing the HSHV could do because the animals weren't abused. I paid attention to that because I didn't want to patronize an establishment that abused animals. Yet, now he's vilified for past complaints never brought to court??? Look, I appreciate taking animal abusers to task. But, what I don't appreciate is the HSHV trying to indict the man publicly on past complaints it never seems to have brought to court. All that statement tells me is that either the HSHV was, itself, neglectful over the past 10 years in failing to bring Hoey to trial on those past charges and remdiate the situation, or that he's being smeared with charges premised on past, unsubstantiated complaints. Which is it? Neither sounds good to me and doesn't speak well of the HSHV.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Be careful with that kind of talk... I heard stories of Tar & Featherings or banishment from the village.

Top Cat

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

This man is well known and intensely disliked in the Dexter community. Anyone that is around animals has known for years that his animals were maltreated. He has no remorse. We stopped patronizing his business years ago and I suggest others consider doing the same.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:06 a.m.

it sounds like the mismanagement of this business caught up with them. I'm glad that these animals have been rescued.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

He's got more animals on that property than just the Percherons. There are other horses and ponies as well. Someone should ask him to show vet records for the care that these animals have received in the past. I would bet there would not be much there.

Laura Jones

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

That was checked when the investigation was made. Only the ones with poor condition were removed.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Pure speculation


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

There sure seem to be two sides to the story here.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Okay, I retract. It sounded like Burton's explanations were plausible when I read them. If people in that community have been seeing this for a long time, outside the current situation, then my opinion has shifted. Thanks.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

yeah, the right side AND the wrong side.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

The mob rules...

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

The only two sides are Burton's and the rest of the world.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:23 a.m.

And what would the other side be? The people of Dexter could tell you their side over the last 40 years. Some of the stories would make you shake your head in disbelief.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

Thanks to HSHV and Matt for all the hard work to save these animals. They were in a terrible situation. Job well done. I hope Hoey never owns another animal as long as he lives.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Serving GFS cakes in the hot sun. I fought the law and the law won. I fought the law and the law won. I fought the law and the law won.

Fresh Start

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

Leave this poor guynalone


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Why should people leave somebody alone to abuse? On the contrary, please don't accept abuse.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

He brings it all on himself! Burton plays by his own set of rules and when he gets caught it is ALWAYS the same thing......... they are picking on me or they are out to get me. Burton just face the facts you are not wanted in Dexter because you do follow the rules that every other business man or woman has to. so close shop and move on!


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

He should have left those suffering horses alone instead of working them into the ground. Why should we feel bad for him at all?


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

Burt has taken the first step toward full rehabilitation; standing up in public and taking responsibility for his actions. Hang in there buddy! We're pullin' for ya!


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:26 a.m.

Burtons quote from article......."Someone set me up to get the Humane Society to come out here and take some of the animals that were being treated," he said. How is that taking responsibility for his actions? He has an excuse for everything and it is never his fault and everyone is out to get him!


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Except that he didn't. Taking responsibility does not mean pleading no contest; it means admitting guilt and stop making excuses.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Taking he first step means apologizing and admitting wrongdoing. He did neither. I hope he's driven out of business.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Man they are reaching for straws to put this Co. out of business Next will be he did not service napkins with his food --- Come on guys You are killing him and his animals What happened to the Twp Before the Accident

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

I agree 1bigbud...someone wants this land badly


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

How is using his animals abuse PITA -MHS no one ever Bit&h about him until the accident Were you blind then. When you and everyone enjoyed his SHOP --KICK him while he is down That's the A2 way MHS is nothing but money hungry Pimps and thief's. I have got dogs and Cats from them in the past But all they want is MONEY --O you can give the dog a home if you got $$$$


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

How is abusing animals for years comparable to napkins? It seems like he does a good job of killing animals himself. He deserves to be put out of business.Bye bye, Hoey: you will not be missed by most of us.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

He's now a proven animal abuser. Chalk one op for the good guys! Well done MHS! Animals have no voice, no way to scream out "stop, you're hurting me!" It is a good thing there are good folks out there who will do it for them...Oh, by the way, this was NOT a witch hunt, just look at his despicable track record. Shut him down already!


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

"Animals have no voice, no way to scream out "stop, you're hurting me!"" Apparently you've never nicked the quick while trimming your dogs nails......


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:55 a.m.

Sorry HSHV--I was slothful when I responded, or maybe I was just gitty that a cruel transgressor was brought to justice in some way. Thank you for correcting me!


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

There is no connection between MHS (Michigan Humane Society) and HSHV (Humane Society of Huron Valley). They are completely separate entities and do not receive support from each other. Well done HSHV!


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

This place has been a train wreck over the past few years. I hope the animals find a home.

music to my ear

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

Hoey .actually sold some of his land adjacent to Jennys market but the buyer of zimmermans restaurant wants it all to build a really big restaurant according to earlier A 2 articles. it is a corner spot Mr. HOey ought to just retire and enjoy some of his old age go to Texas and visit some old friends.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Pure speculation @ this time


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Homeland, Do you have any evidence or proof of these allegations?

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

It's been a made to order train wreck. Someone in power (MONEY) wants this piece of land badly. So bad that are won't stop the harassment until "they" get his land or he dies from all the pressure.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

If this place closes, where will I buy those delicious GFS baked goods?


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Boy you guys really hate me don't you? Every post I have done in the past week is gone. Figures my amendment rights would be violated.