Sherrard woman charged in animal cruelty case now accused of communicating with witness

Court records show a warrant on the new charge was issued Wednesday
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 7:45 AM CDT
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MERCER Co., Ill. (KWQC) - A rural Sherrard woman facing animal cruelty charges after investigators found nearly 200 dogs on her property is facing a new charge of communicating with a witness.

Mercer County court records show a warrant was issued Wednesday for Karen A. Plambeck, 59, on a charge of unlawful communication with a witness, a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison. Bond on the warrant was set at $35,000.

Court records show she appeared on the charge Thursday in Mercer County Circuit Court. She has a status hearing Tuesday.

According to the criminal information filed in the new case, Plambeck on or around Aug. 20 told a witness that if she “dropped the charges” against her she would tell her where her missing dogs were located.

Plambeck is also charged with five counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison, in a separate case.

According to court records:

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.

On Aug. 16, Mercer County State’s Attorney Grace Simpson filed a petition to permanently forfeit the animals seized from Plambeck’s property.

“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 has said.

A hearing on the petition is scheduled for Sept. 6. She also has a preliminary hearing in the case.