PC Richardses dog abuse1

Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Mark and Wendy Richards of Champaign at arraignment for animal cruelty for the 85 dogs removed from their home Oct. 22 and Nov. 1. At the Champaign County Courthouse on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Mark and Wendy Richards of Champaign at arraignment for animal cruelty for the 85 dogs removed from their home Oct. 22 and Nov. 1. At the Champaign County Courthouse on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

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URBANA — A Champaign husband and wife accused of inhumanely treating scores of dogs in their home are due back in court later this month.

Champaign County Judge Adam Dill on Friday arraigned Mark Richards, 61, and his wife, Wendy, 55, on a single misdemeanor count of failure to provide humane care and treatment of animals after 84 dogs were removed from their home in the 1300 block of West Springfield Avenue in October.

The couple had asked Dill to appoint a public defender to represent them, but the judge determined they earned too much money to qualify and continued their cases until Dec. 20 to give them time to hire a private attorney.

The charge alleges that the animals that were being kept in their home, first discovered by a Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District worker on Oct. 16, were covered with fleas, had coats matted with feces, and were not receiving adequate veterinary care.

Animal-control officers removed 84 dogs from the home Oct. 22, and went back Nov. 1 and found another dog and two dead kittens, State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said earlier.

The couple surrendered their rights to most of the animals a month ago.Rietz said the “vast majority” of the dogs have been sent to rescue societies in Bloomington, Ill., and Terre Haute, Ind. She said the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine helped spay and neuter many of them, and the Champaign County Humane Society took six.“The Champaign County animal-control officers have appreciated getting pictures of the dogs in their new homes,” Rietz said. “But there are still a number of dogs at animal control. The dogs that remain are vicious and dangerous.

“Animal control is continuing to evaluate what is in the best interest of the dogs going forward,” she added, adding that the county is currently picking up the tab for the dogs’ care.If convicted of the Class B misdemeanor offense, the maximum penalty the Richardses could receive is up to two years of probation, six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).