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Lake County authorities say they arrested the former operator of a closed no-kill animal shelter after discovering 18 dead dogs and six more severely dehydrated and malnourished animals at the facility.
The owner, 48-year-old Diane Eldrup of Deer Park, was being held Friday at the Lake County Jail on $250,000 bond on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals. Authorities did not say whether she had an attorney.
Police from neighboring Kildeer told the Daily Herald that Eldrup owned and lived at the Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, where officers found the animals Thursday.
Leslie Piotrowski, spokeswoman for the Lake County Health Department, said that Eldrup’s estranged husband had gone to pick up some belongings at Eldrup’s home, where the shelter is located, when he discovered the dead animals.
"He opened the door and saw the condition and he immediately called us and then we went in," said Kildeer Police Chief Louis Rossi, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The live animals were taken to a local animal hospital and are being treated.
“It's a long road to recovery, but the prognosis is good," she said.
The Health Department was waiting for a search warrant that will allow animal control staff to examine the dead animals, which were still inside the home Friday afternoon, Piotrowski said.
Animal control officers later removed four living dogs and two living cats from the property.