Thursday, October 22, 2009

Illinois: Repeat animal hoarder Elizabeth Brown, 64, arrested again; puppy mill operator Nikima Wright, 36, given probation

ILLINOIS -- A judge issued an arrest warrant for Elizabeth Brown, 64, of Paxton, IL, after she failed to show up for an Oct. 9 court.

Will County authorities later learned that Brown had been charged Sept. 30 in Ford County with cruelty to animals and obstructing justice. That was five days after she pleaded guilty in Will County to animal cruelty and received two years' probation.

Will County sheriff 's police arrested Brown in January 2008 after they and Humane Society investigators seized 18 starving dogs from an unheated barn in Manhattan Township and the yard of an empty house that Brown owned in Joliet Township.

The animals were starving, thirsty and dirty. One dog lost part of an ear to frostbite. Another had a baseball-sized tumor and glaucoma. Authorities later removed 10 cats from the Joliet Township house.

Brown has a history of hoarding animals and has been charged and convicted of similar crimes in other Illinois counties, according to court records. 

Probation deal
On Sept. 25, Brown pleaded guilty, and the judge gave her probation.
Brown received that sentence because the dogs and cats were adopted by owners who now loved them, the judge said.

But Schoenstedt warned the woman that she couldn't have any pets of any kind. He also told her to report to her probation officer Sept. 28, warning Brown that if she didn't, he would send her back to jail and reconsider his decision.

Then Moore learned that Brown actually owned two cats at the time of her Sept. 25 sentencing hearing and didn't tell the judge.

And at the time of that hearing, Brown was the subject of a criminal investigation in Ford County, Moore wrote in documents that were filed in Will County court.

On Sept. 30, Brown was arrested in Ford County on charges of cruelty to animals and obstruction of justice, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, in another animal abuse case, a woman caught running a puppy mill at her Peotone home has pleaded guilty to abusing small dogs and been sentenced to 12 months on probation.

The judge also ordered Nikima Wright, 36, of 10047 W. Offner Road, to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Acting on a tip. Will County police arrested Wright in March 2008 after finding 49 small dogs in tiny stacked crates and cages in her home.

The dogs had not been fed or cared for properly and needed veterinary treatment, police said.

Wright gave police permission to remove the dogs from her home and take them to a shelter, but she later sued unsuccessfully to try to get them back.

Under terms of Wright's guilty plea, she cannot have any pets other than her two original dogs, must have those dogs sterilized and must submit proof every six months that they're getting proper veterinary care, according to court documents.

(Southtown Star - Oct 21, 2009)