A woman accused in the deaths of several animals at a Deer Park kennel she owned was indicted Wednesday by a Lake County grand jury.
Diane Eldrup, 48, is charged with 16 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and 16 counts of animal torture, Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said.
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Eldrup was arrested Dec. 17 after police went to the Muddy Paws kennel in the 2000 block of North Rand Road and found the carcasses of several dead dogs.
A comprehensive sweep of the property by police on Dec. 30 found a total of 20 dogs, three birds and an opossum authorities claim died while in Eldrup's care.
Four dogs and two cats were found alive and were turned over to the county health department, where officials said they are likely to survive.
Police also took a sampling of 5 to 10 tons of dog excrement found on the property in plastic garbage bags to search for more victims, but Mermel said Wednesday no further bodies were recovered.
Many of the dogs were found inside the living quarters on the property, where Eldrup was supposedly living with her 8-year-old son before the police action.
Dogs were found curled next to empty food bowls and were in various stages of decomposition, officials said.
Aggravated cruelty to animals is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and animal torture carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison.
Both crimes are also punishable by sentences of probation.
Eldrup is free after posting $25,000 in cash for bond and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for arraignment.
A spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture said the kennel was cited for sanitary violations going back to 2009 and apparently operated without a license for some time before Eldrup's arrest.