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Article posted: 2/6/2013 12:01 AM

Three people arrested, house condemned in Elgin

By Elena Ferrarin

Three people were arrested after they were found living with two children and several animals in a home, later condemned, that was teeming with animal feces, Elgin police announced Tuesday.

Cheryl D. Thacker, 66, and Randy G. McDonald, 51, were each charged with one count of cruel treatment to animals; Crystal M. Zwarton, 38, was charged with two counts of child neglect, Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said. All were arrested Thursday.

Members of the Elgin Police Department's animal control unit received a complaint Jan. 30 about the care of animals in a rental property on the 600 block of Lavoie Avenue, Theriault said. The caller reported an extremely strong odor emanating from the residence.

A search warrant was executed Thursday and nine dogs of varying breeds were seized and taken to Golf Rose Animal Hospital in Schaumburg for examination.

Zwarton's two children, both younger than 10, were placed in the care of their father, Theriault said.

Zwarton described Thacker and McDonald as her stepparents, he said.

Due to the unsanitary conditions of the residence, code enforcement was notified and the house was immediately classified as unfit for human occupancy, Theriault said.

Zwarton was booked and processed at the Elgin Police Department and detained on several outstanding traffic warrants, Theriault said.

Thacker and McDonald were released on their own recognizance and are due in court at 9 a.m. Feb. 22 in Elgin.

Elgin police were seeking a warrant for Robert A. Shilling, 38, who owned the dogs found in the house. Shilling is being charged with several violations, including cruelty to animals and failure to inoculate, police said.

In Elgin, dogs are limited to three for single family homes, and two for multifamily residences.

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