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Woman who ran now-condemned animal rescue gets probation

A woman who ran a now-condemned animal rescue operation in western Michigan that was overrun with more than 1,000 rats has been placed on probation.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports 54-year-old Christine Lea Bishop of Muskegon County's Fruitport Township was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in agreement that bars her from running her own animal-rescue service for two years.

If she sticks to probation terms, Bishop's felony animal-neglect conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Her lawyer Susan Knoll says Bishop is getting counseling.

Bishop ran Critter Cafe Rescue and has said the rat population started with a cage of pet rats outside the rented building in winter.

Rabbits, ducks and cats also were cared for there.

Authorities say she was overwhelmed.

The operation was effectively shut down in mid-May.

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