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updated: 12/1/2011 3:34 PM

Judge wants review of Deer Park animal abuser's job

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  • Diane Eldrup

    Diane Eldrup


A Lake County judge said Thursday he wants the probation department to prepare a report on the "appropriateness" of a convicted animal abuser working in a house where one resident suffers from dementia.

Diane Eldrup, 48, is serving an 18-month jail sentence that allows her to leave the lockup to work and attend counseling.

She was convicted in September of animal torture and aggravated cruelty to animals for allowing 30 dogs, three birds and an opossum die of starvation at the Muddy Paws Dog Rescue she owned in Deer Park.

Eldrup testified at the trial that she had become overwhelmed by her collapsing marriage and financial problems and had "shut down emotionally" as she watched the animals starve.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said at a court hearing Thursday he believed "the sensitive nature of the defendant's employment providing home health care for an elderly couple," was not proper for a person with Eldrup's mental health history.

He quoted from a psychological evaluation done on Eldrup prior to her sentencing hearing that states she has numerous psychological issues in need of treatment.

Defense attorney John Cornyn blasted what he called "the lack of any investigation" of these claims and said his client is not engaged in providing health care for anyone.

He called the Des Plaines woman who employs Eldrup, and that woman testified she has known Eldrup for three years and was familiar with the history of the criminal case against her.

The woman said while her husband does suffer from dementia, he is able to care for himself and does not require care from anyone outside their household.

She said Eldrup was hired in September to help her clean a portion of her house and assist her in sorting out the belongings of her recently-deceased mother. Eldrup works there five days a week.

The woman said Eldrup is sometimes alone in the house with her husband when she goes out to the store. The woman said she always returns to the house quickly.

Curnyn acknowledged his client's history of psychological issues, but said she is currently in therapy.

Circuit Judge James Booras said he would allow Eldrup to continue working at the house, but told the probation department he wants a report done detailing her responsibilities.

He ordered the report to be prepared in advance of Eldrup's next court appearance on Dec. 12.

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