Woman accused of animal cruelty had nearly 200 dogs on her property

MERCER COUNTY, Ill. (KWQC/Gray News) – An Illinois woman was arrested Friday after deputies said nearly 200 dogs were found on her property.

Police arrested Karen A. Plambeck, 59, on Friday on three counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison, according to KWQC.

Bond on the warrant was set at $25,000.

According to a news release from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Mercer County Animal Control opened an investigation Friday into an animal welfare complaint at Plambeck’s home.

Investigators searched a property and recovered 198 dogs, the statement said.

One of the three counts filed alleges that Plambeck allowed a dog to live in filthy conditions with mange and maggots that caused the animal’s death.

“The resources required for such an investigation are immense,” according to the statement from the sheriff’s office. “Mercer County Animal Control is focusing all of its resources and time on caring for and finding places to accept and care for these dogs. Mercer County Animal Control will post additional information as time permits, please be patient.

“Many” licensed pet rescues in the area and many other volunteers continue to help, the statement said.

The sheriff’s office added that while resources are “desperately needed,” animal control is not asking for public volunteers at this point.

The investigation is ongoing.

The sheriff’s office said anyone wishing to make cash donations to help offset costs can be sent directly to Mercer County Animal Control, PO Box 188, Aledo, IL 61231.

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

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

She also failed to provide a sufficient amount of healthy, good-quality feed 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, 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 judicial supervision. As part of her advocacy, she agreed to allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Agriculture, or Animal Control to come on-site to check on the condition of the animals, according to court documents.

Prosecutors dismissed the other charges against her, according to court records.

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