A Pecatonica woman was arrested Friday for animal cruelty.
“Delores Bellars was arrested this morning and surrendered herself to the sheriffs for processing, and a court date has been set, and the entire case I'm sure will come out as the court action proceeds,” said Gary Longanecker of the Winnebago County Animal Services.
State police were first called to Bellars' house in the 15900 block of West State Road
on March 29 for a bull running loose. When officers returned the animal they made a gruesome discovery.
“Found a number of dead horses. Eleven or 12 dead animals found on the property,” said Longanecker.
The dead animals included six horses, one dog and one cat. Dead sheep were also found, along with several other animals that did not have enough food or water, prompting police to call in Winnebago County Animal Services and the Illinois Department of Agriculture to launch an investigation.
“We had a three-week investigation, interviewed several people, including veterinarians, and did some subsequential checks to the property,” said Longanecker.
This is the largest case of animal abuse the county has dealt with since January 2004, when around 70 animals were seized from Kerry Brumm. Brumm, who lived in rural Winnebago County, eventually avoided criminal charges.
Bellars has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty and three counts of violation of the duties of an animal owner. For now the animals will stay in Bellars’ care, but a representative from the Hoofed Animal Humane Society will be coming out to the house at least once a week to check on the condition of the animals.
If found guilty, Bellars faces a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail, or two years probation for animal cruelty. She also faces a fine of up to $1,500 and up to six months in jail or two years probation for violation of the duties of an animal owner.