A former veterinarian found guilty of animal cruelty in Williamson County, Illinois, will not serve jail time.Elisa Kirkpatrick was found guilty in July of aggravated animal cruelty and practicing without a license.
Kirkpatrick had been performing surgeries on animals in her home without a license.
She also had 60 animals in her home which investigators say were living in unsanitary conditions.
On Friday, she was sentenced to two years probation and no jail time.
She must also undergo a mental health evaluation with counseling, and must pay court fees.
The judge also said she will be allowed to have pets.
Williamson County States Attorney Brandon Zanotti says he respects the judges decision, but he had hoped to see harsher punishment enforced for what he calls a gruesome, unprecedented animal cruelty case.
“But, obviously, given the gruesome crimes that occurred and what happened, we are disappointed,” Zanotti said. The state asked for six months of jail time, a $5,000 fine, court costs, and a probation period that would prevent her from owning pets, living in a home with pets or working with animals. Zanotti said it was jail time that he thought was most deserved in the case.
“We believe that some jail time would have been in order. You know, part of why people go to jail in our society, in our system, it’s a deterrent effect. It sends a signal that certain things won’t be tolerated and there are consequences for your actions,” he said.
The judge found Kirkpatrick guilty on 11 counts during her trial, including a felony for aggravated cruel treatment of an animal. She was also found guilty of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, which was suspended at the time and failure to perform onerous duties, which is part of the animal cruelty act.
Kirkpatrick has 30 days to appeal the sentence.