Woman at Dog Death House When Cops Made Raid Gets Probation
A Lockport woman spent nearly three months in jail on animal cruelty charges but was sprung Thursday.
When Joliet narcotics cops raided a South Briggs Street house in August they were looking for drugs but instead found a basement full of dead, starving and wounded dogs.
The officers with the Joliet Narcotics Unit also weren't looking for Amber Norris, but the 21-year-old Lockport woman happened to be there and admitted to having "some responsibility for the dogs" and allowing that she "did care for them on occasion," Assistant State's Attorney Fred Harvey said during a Thursday afternoon court hearing.
That was enough to land Norris in jail on 11 counts of felony aggravated cruel treatment of animals. On Thursday she pleaded guilty to six of those counts and was sentenced to two years probation.
Judge Richard Schoenstedt said he would be less inclined to accept Norris' plea deal if Harvey hadn't told him that she did not live there or own the dogs. Schoenstedt also asked Harvey if the cops were attempting to identify the owner of the dead and dying dogs, and the prosecutor told him that detectives were indeed trying to track him down.
Harvey had also told Judge Schoenstedt that the Joliet Narcotics Unit was after another individual and not targeting Norris when they raided the house.
Each of the 11 counts of aggravated cruel treatment to animals filed against Norris details the suffering of 11 different pit bulls found at the 119 S. Briggs St. residence. The dogs located in the basement of the house were loaded down with weights and chains and had been trained to fight, Harvey said.
Norris had spent 85 days in jail before Schoenstedt sentenced her to probation.