Prosecutors seek forfeiture of nearly 200 dogs seized from Mercer County home

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:59 PM CDT
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MERCER Co., Ill. (KWQC) - Mercer County prosecutors are asking a judge to permanently forfeit nearly 200 dogs seized from a rural Sherrard woman’s property.

Karen A. Plambeck, 59, was arrested Friday on three counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class 4 felony. She is free on bond after posting 10% of a $25,000 bond.

On Tuesday, Mercer County State’s Attorney Grace Simpson filed a petition for forfeiture of companion animals prior to trial. A hearing date has not yet been set on the petition.

Plambeck appeared in court Wednesday and told the judge she would hire an attorney. She will be back in court Sept. 6 for a preliminary hearing.

According to online court records, a hearing on prosecutors’ petiton also will be held that day.

According to the petition:

On Aug. 10, the Mercer County Animal Control Department received a complaint from a woman who said some of her collies had been sold to a person in South Carolina and were supposed to be transported by Plambeck.

The collies never made it to the intended owner and the woman was concerned about the welfare of her collies.

An animal control officer went to Plambeck’s property per court order in a previous case.

The officer was concerned about the status of some of the animals. The officer, with the assistance of the sheriff’s office, got a search warrant for the property.

Among the first dogs to be removed were two puppies that had severe cases of sarcoptic mange that caused them to itch uncontrollably and not eat, causing emaciation.

A larger collie that had large skin ulcers that had underlying muscle necrosis also was removed. The wounds on the dog were later found to have large amounts of maggots.

The dog could not stand without assistance and later had to be euthanized.

Between Friday and Sunday, it was discovered that a litter of puppies were parvo positive and another collie removed from the property was suffering from a chronic fracture of the tarsal joint.

All the dogs removed from the property were moderately dehydrated with no water available to them,” according to the petition.

The dogs seized include 193 smooth and rough coat collie-type dogs, three corgis and two Pyrenees-type dogs.

Under Illinois statute, the state’s attorney can, within 14 days after the seizure, file a petition requesting permanent forfeiture of the animals.

“The People are seeking this remedy in this matter,” Simpson wrote in the petition. “If the companion animal is not forfeited pursuant to this petition, the animals will remain in the custody of the Mercer County Animal Control for the pendency of this matter prior to the disposition or returned to its abusive owner. The People are seeking this remedy so the 198 canines can be relocated to a home where they will receive a family and appropriate care.”

Since the dogs were removed from the property, numerous licensed pet rescues in the region and other volunteers have assisted animal control in caring for the dogs, the sheriff’s office said in a release earlier this week.

In October 2019, Plambeck was charged in Mercer County with cruel treatment of animals and four counts of unlawful inhuman care for animals, all misdemeanors.

According to court documents, she allowed a halter to remain on a 2-year-old paint mare so long that the halter was embedded causing a necrotic area on the bridge of the horse’s nose.

She also failed to provide enough good quality, wholesome food to the same horse and several others, according to court documents.

Plambeck was later charged with disorderly conduct, also a misdemeanor, for breaching the peace by allowing her dogs to bark for hours on end, according to court documents.

Court records show she pleaded guilty on May 2 to the disorderly conduct charge and was sentenced to 24 months of court supervision. As part of her plea, she agreed to allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Agriculture, or animal control to come onsite to check on the status of the animals, according to court documents.

Prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges against her, court records show.

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