College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor Patricia Schenck will not face jail time for previously alleged neglect of 17 dogs in her Clinton County home.
Schenck originally was charged with felony neglect of 10 or more animals after a December search of her home found 17 dogs and 2 cats in poor condition.
In a Friday morning Clinton County District Court appearance, Schenck pleaded no contest to lesser charges of malicious destruction of property over $200 and under $1,000, Clinton County Prosecutor Charles Sherman.
Sherman said the judge sentenced Schenck to two years of probation, and she has to forfeit 12 of the remaining 16 dogs.
Previously, one sick and elderly dog was euthanized with Schenck’s consent.
She will keep four dogs, one of which is older and not expected to live long, and once the elderly dog dies, she only will be allowed three dogs in her possession for the remainder of her probation, Sherman said.
Schenck will have, at least, monthly checks by animal control to check on the welfare of the animals during the probation.
She must pay $10,000 for the care of the animals while the case was pending and an additional $1,450 in fines and cost.
Sherman said a judge could still sentence Schenck to up to a year in jail if she violates her probation.
“Our goal was to make sure these dogs were properly cared for,” Sherman said, adding he feels content with the case’s conclusion. “No one ever claimed she was intentionally abusing or neglecting these animals.”
“She was in a situation in where she was simply way over her head and giving improper care,” he added.
Sherman said the remaining of the 12 dogs who have not been put up for adoption already will likely be put up for adoption.
Schenck previously was suspended from the university pending the outcome of the case.
In an email, university spokesman Jason Cody said Schenck currently is suspended with pay from the university.