Case Against Diane Eldrup Over Muddy Paws Animal Rescue Goes to Trial Starting Tomorrow

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Diane Eldrup, owner of Muddy Paws goes to trial before a jury, Tuesday, Sept. 6 for 19 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class 4 felony with a maximum punishment of one to three years in jail. Eldrup also faces 19 counts of animal torture, a Class 3 felony that carries a maximum jail sentence of five years.

Kildeer Police Chief Louis Rossi reported last year that officers responded to a call for assistance at Muddy Paws, 20429 N. Rand Rd., on Thursday Dec. 16, 2010. Officers observed four dogs in an emaciated state, searched the property, and called for the assistance of Lake County animal officials when more dead dogs were found on the property.

Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge James Booras denied three pre-trial motions made by John Curnyn, her defense attorney.

Counselor Curnyn made a motion to strike the evidence of dogs that were not sent for a necropsy. Six of the dogs were sent for necropsy to determine the cause of death. Curnyn says the cause of death of 12 of the dogs is unknown.

The defense also sought to bar testimony by Dr. Ned Bartlett, a veterinarian, saying that Bartlett was not qualified to render an expert opinion, because he has no expertise in performing autopsies and was merely providing testimony base on the expertise of David Gardiner, of California, a veterinary pathologist from California.

Curnyn also made a motion to strike the testimony of Bartlett — saying that his secondary information from of David Gardiner would be hearsay.

Assistant State’s Attorney and prosecutor Michael Mermel has said the six dogs were chosen for necropsy because they were the most complete. “The other dogs were in so advanced a state of decomposition that there was little or nothing left,” according to Mermel

A total of 34 dogs and numerous birds were discovered dead at Muddy Paws, a former rescue and boarding facility on Route 12 in Deer Park.

Eldrup rejected a plea deal offered earlier this summer.

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