Dead dogs found inside living area of house: attorney
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Most of the 17 dead dogs authorities recovered last week from a shuttered Deer Park kennel were found inside the living area of the house on the property, an attorney said Tuesday.
The lawyer for Kurt Eldrup, the estranged husband of accused animal abuser Diane Eldrup, said his client and police discovered the animals inside the house that was without heat or running water.
Waukegan attorney John Joanem said Kurt Eldrup's discovery and the subsequent arrest of his wife prompted him to seek an emergency custody order for the couple's 8-year-old son that bars Diane Eldrup from having contact with the boy.
Joanem's revelations came following a court hearing in which prosecutors announced their intention to seek to raise Diane Eldrup's $250,000 bond and convinced a judge to order her to surrender her passport.
Diane Eldrup was arrested Friday after being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals at the former Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, 20429 N. Rand Road.
Her bond was set at $250,000 after a court hearing that day, and Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said she was released from custody within hours of the hearing.
Mermel said at least $8,000 of the $25,000 bond was posted in $50 and $100 bills, leading him to believe she may have a large quantity of cash hidden somewhere.
He said that suspicion and the fact Eldrup is from England and is believed to have relatives there, prompted him to ask Associate Judge Raymond Collins to increase her bond.
Collins said he would not do so until he sees a report on Eldrup's background prepared by the probation department. He scheduled a hearing on Mermel's request for Dec. 27.
Collins did order her to surrender her passport by Wednesday morning, and said he would reconsider the request for a higher bond if she failed to do so.
Authorities became aware of conditions at Muddy Paws after Kurt Eldrup, who Joanem said has been separated from his wife for at least two years and has been barred from the Deer Park property by an order of protection, obtained a court order allowing him to retrieve some belongings.
Joanem said his client went to the property alone Dec. 15, and found a single dead dog in an outbuilding away from the house but could not find his wife or son on the property.
Kurt Eldrup returned the following day, Joanem said, and the rest of the 17 dead dogs were found in the living area of the house that is attached to the kennel.
"The animals were in locked cages in the house and there was no evidence any food or water had been provided for them in the cages," Joanem said. "The heat and water to the house had been turned off and there was no real indication how long it had been since any people had lived there."
A warrant was issued for Diane Eldrup's arrest and she surrendered to Wauconda police the following day, prompting Kurt Eldrup to ask the judge handling the couple's divorce to award him sole custody of the boy.
Joanem said the boy has asked about the condition of two cats that were among six living animals removed from the property by county officials.
Leslie Piotrowski, spokeswoman for the county health department, said Tuesday all of the living animals – the cats and four dogs — received treatment and were expected to survive.
Joanem said Kurt Eldrup is careful in his discussions with his son about what the boy may know about what happened at Muddy Paws.
"At this point, no one knows what the boy may have seen or experienced while he was living with his mother and it is possible some counseling will be necessary," Joanem said. "Right now, dad and son are just trying to enjoy their reunion."
Diane Eldrup faces up to three years in prison if convicted in the case.
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