Mercer Co. woman charged with animal abuse pleads not guilty to communicating with a witness

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 2:45 PM CDT
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MERCER CO., Ill. (KWQC) - The Mercer County woman facing animal cruelty charges after investigators found nearly 200 dogs on her property plead not guilty on Tuesday to communicating with a witness about the case.

Karen Plambeck, 59, of rural Sherrard, appeared at the Mercer County courthouse Tuesday morning and waived her right to a preliminary hearing. The judge set a pretrial conference date for December 12 at 9 a.m.

In August, Karen Plambeck was arrested after law enforcement seized 198 dogs from her home. Many of them were sick and emaciated from lack of access to food and water, according to court documents.

A couple of weeks later, Plambeck was arrested on a charge of unlawful communication with a witness.

According to court records, 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.

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.

Since the dogs were seized from Plambeck, they have been living at Mercer County Animal Control getting checked out by local veterinarians. The dogs cannot be adopted out until they are permanently forfeited from Plambeck. The Mercer County State’s Attorney has filed for that petition.

If convicted, Plambeck could spend one to three years in prison on the animal abuse charges and two to five years for tampering with a witness.