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Sherrard woman arrested for animal cruelty; 198 dogs rescued from her home

According to police, Karen Plambeck was arrested after hundreds of dogs were recovered from her home in Mercer County.

SHERRARD, Ill. — A woman was arrested Friday, Aug. 12 after hundreds of dogs were recovered from her home in rural Sherrard.

Mercer County Animal Control received an animal welfare complaint Friday regarding 59-year-old Karen Plambeck. A warranted search of her home recovered 198 dogs, according to the Mercer County Sheriff's Office.

Plambeck was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty and transported to the Mercer County Jail, where she later posted bond.

Steve Foster lives next door and said he's been complaining about the barking dogs for years now.

"It's been years since I've sat on my deck and not heard a dog bark. And when they all sound off, it's like a roar. I mean, it's something you've never heard before," Foster said. "The smell, I mean, that's something hard to describe. I could never live there with the smell that was just coming off these dogs full of mats."

Illinois court documents reveal that Plambeck faced a previous animal cruelty offense in 2019. The charges against her were negotiated down to disorderly conduct, and in June 2022, she was sentenced to 24 months of probation and required to pay a $300 fine.

RELATED: Animal cruelty is reddest of red flags for violence against humans, experts say

All Animal Healthcare of Aledo and Yerkey Vet Services of Viola assisted Mercer County Animal Control with the investigation and recovery of the dogs.

"I feel sorry for the dogs," Foster said. "They did nothing wrong in this situation. They're innocent. I hope they go to a good home and they live out (their lives) and I hope she never owns another dog again. I pray she doesn't own another dog."

Animal control is dedicating resources and time to finding places where the dogs can be cared for. Although resources are needed, it is not yet asking for public volunteers.

As of Monday afternoon, all the dogs were at Mercer County Animal Control getting welfare checks from veterinarians and updated vaccinations. 

Animal control is accepting monetary donations at its location at 1638 IL-17 PO Box 188 in Aledo. Dog food donations can be dropped off at the Mercer County Sheriff's Office lobby.

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