SHERRARD, Illinois -- Mercer County deputies arrested a Sherrard woman last week on accusations of animal cruelty in connection with several horses found in poor condition.
Karen Plambeck, 56, was charged with one count of cruelty to animals and four counts of violating animal owner duties. She was released after posting $1000 bond. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is investigating.
Krista Lisser, the department's public information officer, told News 8 the animals stay under the owner's care as the investigation is still open, barring additional information to warrant taking them away.
Neighbors say they have been worried about the welfare of the horses, and other animals on the Mercer County farm, for quite some time.
Duane Foster, who lives across from Plambeck, told News 8, the problems started years ago.
"First the dogs, that’s what started the whole thing, five, six years ago. The dogs started barking. It just seemed to get louder and louder," he said. Other neighbors echoed the concern, saying they hear large numbers of dogs barking throughout the night.
In the last one to two years, they started noticing the condition of the horses.
"You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that's something that's malnutrition. Skinny, you can count all the ribs. It’s a bad situation," Foster said.
Several horses were still seen Thursday, October 17, grazing on the short grass on the Plambeck property.
8.23 There’s more grass in my driveway than there is in that pasture," Foster said. "They’re skinny, you can tell they’re hungry, they eat the leaves off the trees. There’s nothing to eat for them."
News 8 reached Plambeck by phone, but she would not comment on the charges.
For his part, Foster said, "I hope maybe she’s learned her lesson maybe, maybe she’ll pay more attention to what needed to be done."
He said he hopes the animals get the care they need for everyone's peace of mind: "If they can’t manage them, afford them, take them somewhere else they can get fed properly and taken care of properly. That’s what they need."
Karen Plambeck's first court appearance is scheduled for November 4 in Mercer County Court.