SYCAMORE – The executive director of a Genoa animal shelter pleaded not guilty to charges of animal neglect Tuesday in DeKalb County court.
Roberta R. Shoaf, 66, of the 700 block of Carlson Street, Sycamore, was charged in January with failure to provide veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering. If convicted, she could face court supervision, up to a maximum penalty of a $1,500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Shoaf is executive director of the Barn on Baseline animal shelter in Genoa, as well as president of the board of directors for the DeKalb County Animal Welfare League, which oversees the shelter. When reached for comment, the board of directors said they would not comment on personnel matters.
Richard Schmack, a former DeKalb County state’s attorney, is representing Shoaf, and entered a not guilty plea on her behalf to Judge Thomas Doherty. Several people attended the brief hearing to support Shoaf, who did not speak in court.
On the way out of the courtroom, surrounded by her supporters, both Shoaf and Schmack declined to comment. She is due back in court July 2 for a pretrial hearing.
Members of the local group Bert’s Brigade also attended the hearing, with some wearing animal advocacy pins.
The group was formed by Drew Alexander and Katy Schertz, of Sycamore, after the latter adopted a chihuahua named Bert from the shelter, and have alleged the dog was neglected at the shelter.
“Bert’s Brigade members remain totally committed to seeing this through to its end,” Alexander said Tuesday, “and having Mrs. Shoaf take accountability for her failure to provide the requisite vet care for Bert and Roscoe, the two animals who are subjects of the count.”
Alexander filed a complaint with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office against the shelter in June. The Barn on Baseline was fined $500 by the state for the violation and the money was paid by the shelter Nov. 19, closing the case involving Bert.