FREEPORT, Ill. » A woman is being held in Wisconsin who authorities in Illinois say had 85 live dogs and at least 65 dead dogs and cats at a rural rental house.
The Journal-Standard reported that 45-year-old Tina McKinnon was taken into custody in Linn, Wisconsin early Thursday and faces charges of felony aggravated animal cruelty and misdemeanor cruel treatment to animals.
The animals were found Monday morning by Cole Eshleman, the property’s owner, who heard barking while working in a machine shed. More than 30 dogs ran out when he opened the door, he said. He said McKinnon moved in after Christmas.
Animal control warden Kristin Laue said the dogs were given free rein in the house.
"There were feces all over the house, urine, of course, dogs everywhere: dogs in closets, dogs in the stove, in the duct work," Laue said.
The woman in the house near Freeport, Illinois had contacted animal control and an animal rescue organization in recent weeks, and she told them she was a rescuer and needed help, Laue said. The woman gave away a few animals but didn’t hold up her end of other agreements.
"We tried to help her, but she never took us up on it," Laue said. "It was just a matter of time before something happened where we found out where she was."
A local animal hospital is holding most of the dogs, and others are at area shelters. Laue said some dogs would be available for adoption when animal control has a judge’s permission.
Donations are being accepted at the animal hospital, including small towels and rags, newspapers, dog food and dish soap.
Stephenson County, Illlinois Sheriff’s Department officials say they are coordinating with Walworth County, Wisconsin officers for McKinnon’s extradition.