Clay County woman takes plea deal in case where 200+ animals were removed from property

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County woman has accepted a plea deal in connection to a case where hundreds of animals were found in October 2021 living on a property in what the sheriff called deplorable conditions.

According to a prior civil petition, 266 animals were removed from the property, including 104 dogs, 28 pigs, 44 rabbits, 72 chickens, six goats, two turtles, six pigeons, one duck, two quail and one goose.

The animals were said to have been living in filth, noting “...insects flying around the living room and kitchen directly adjacent to stacks of cages, fecal matter on the floors throughout the home, and the smell of ammonia from urine and feces throughout the home.”

Court records discovered Tuesday by News4JAX show Jennifer Wilke, 52, agreed to plead guilty to five felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, stating that it was in her best interest. She originally faced 47 total charges, but records show with the plea deal, 42 misdemeanor counts will not be pursued by the state attorney’s office.

The plea deal shows she was sentenced to five years probation and is not permitted to own pets or animals and cannot be involved in any matter of animal breeding.

Many of the animals that were taken from the home found new families during an adoption event that was held by the county.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.