MSU professor faces 4 years of jail time, initial hearing planned for Thursday


Two cats are staying with a College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor who was charged with neglecting some of her 19 cats and dogs after a December search of her home found the animals living in their own feces.

Assistant professor Patricia Schenck was charged with one count of animal neglect to 10 or more animals and faces up to four years in prison, Clinton County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Hayes said Tuesday.

If found guilty, Schenck might permanently lose the remaining 16 dogs and two cats found in poor condition in her home Dec. 12, Hayes said.

He said 16 dogs were moved to the Clinton County Animal Control Shelter and a sick and elderly dog was euthanized with Schenck’s consent.

University spokesman Kent Cassella previously told The State News that Schenck is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the case, and she did not handle animals in her position at the university.

Clinton County Sheriff Wayne Kangas said police responded to a 911 call at Schenck’s home and found feces on the floor of Schenck’s home and the animals unkept.

The two cats were left at the home because police were unable to find them when they went to collect the animals, Kangas said.

“She agreed to take care of them,” Kangas said. “There is going to be a follow-up inspection of the home.”

Hayes said he believes the cats might have been in better condition than the dogs.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hayes said he and Schenck’s defense attorney, Mick Grewal, are in negotiations.

He said he believes Schenck will turn over the cats at her preliminary hearing and agree to pay for the care of the dogs while they are at the shelter, pending the outcome of the case.

Grewal could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday night.

Schenck was allowed home after posting $250 of her $2,500 bond and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Thursday at the Clinton County District Court, Kangas said.

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