A 59-year-old Sherrard woman has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty.

Karen Plambeck waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday morning. Tuesday morning’s hearing would have previewed the evidence in the case.

Investigators arrested Plambeck in August after they found nearly 200 dogs on her Mercer County property.

The preliminary hearing would have covered both the initial arrest and second arrest and the charge of tampering with a witness. The newest charge came after a witness told authorities Plambeck contacted her and said if she “dropped the charges” against her, Plambeck would tell her the location of some missing dogs.

Plambeck pleaded not guilty to all the charges. If convicted, Plambeck could face one to three years in prison for animal cruelty. She also faces two to five years for tampering with a witness.

Because the dogs were seized from Plambeck’s property, they are in the care of Mercer County Animal Control Department. None of the dogs can be adopted until they are permanently forfeited by Plambeck. Mercer County state’s attorneys have filed a petition to get that forfeiture started.
A pretrial conference – a meeting for the attorneys and judges involved in the case – is next for Plambeck on Dec. 12.