Not guilty plea in Deer Park animal abuse case

Updated 1/24/2011 12:10 PM
  • Diane Eldrup

    Diane Eldrup

A Deer Park woman accused in the deaths of several animals at a shelter she ran pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of animal torture and aggravated animal abuse.

Diane Eldrup, 48, was arrested Dec. 17 after police found the corpses of 20 dogs, three birds and an opossum on the grounds of the Muddy Paws Dog Rescue in the 2000 block of Rand Road.

Prosecutors claim Eldrup neglected the animals and allowed them to starve to death while in her care.

Chicago attorney Sheldon Sorosky told Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras that Eldrup still has not been able to hire an attorney to represent her in the case.

Sorosky, who told Booras he was appearing on Eldrup's behalf only for purposes of the arraignment, said he was working with Eldrup in her attempt to secure counsel.

Booras told Eldrup, who is free after posting $25,000 in cash for bond, that she faces up to five years in prison if convicted of animal torture and up to three years if convicted of animal cruelty.

Both crimes are also punishable by probation, Booras said.

Booras ordered Eldrup to return to court Feb. 8 to report on her progress in her search for an attorney.