A woman who helped recover almost 200 dogs from the hoarding case in Sherrard is now pointing fingers at the United States and Illinois Departments of Agriculture for letting the situation get as far as it did.
The pet rescuer, who wished to remain anonymous, told Local 4 News on Monday that she doesn’t think the agencies watched the accused hoarder closely enough for the last three years.
According to the pet rescuer and internet searches, 59-year-old Karen Plambeck, the woman charged with aggravated animal cruelty for hoarding the almost 200 dogs, was a fully licensed dog breeder with current paperwork, despite having a history of animal abuse. She ran a dog breeding business at her home in Sherrard, called, “Royal Star Collies of KC Ranch.”
Court documents show Plambeck was charged with animal cruelty in Mercer County in October 2019 for mistreating a number of horses. Along with those charges, she was given a supervision order, which allowed the Illinois Department of Agriculture and other agencies to show up at her property, without notice, at any time they wanted to check on her animals.
Despite that truth, the pet rescuer says she doesn’t think the Department of Ag ever performed those check-ups, even though she thinks they should have given Plambeck’s history with animals.
“I’m angry the law and the USDA failed,” the pet rescuer said. “She (Plambeck) was a licensed breeder and her paperwork was up to date, which means this falls back on the Department of Ag for Illinois for not doing the proper on-site investigations.”
Local 4 News reached out to the Illinois Department of Agriculture about the dog hoarding situation Monday and received a response via email. The agency wrote, “The Illinois Department of Agriculture takes all matters concerning animal welfare extremely seriously. The department cannot comment on an ongoing administrative enforcement matter.”
In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Plambeck got another supervision order from Mercer County last week, allowing the Illinois Department of Agriculture to search her property, unannounced, anytime they want, for years to come.
As for the dogs rescued from Plambeck’s property, they remain in the care of Mercer County Animal Control and other pet rescues. But, this rescuer wants to see breeding situations like this one come to an end for good.
“This pet store nonsense needs to stop, and this breeder nonsense needs to stop,” the rescuer said.