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Woman who had nearly 300 animals seized from her Clay County property in 2021 accepts plea deal

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A woman who was facing charges related to the seizure of nearly 300 animals from a Clay County property in October 2021 has accepted a plea deal.

Jennifer Wilkie originally faced 47 charges, but has now pleaded guilty to five felony charges of cruelty to animals and 42 misdemeanor charges were dropped, court records show. She is pleading guilty “because it is in best interest,” according to the documents that were filed Monday.

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Wilkie’s plea paperwork shows a checkmark next to “adjudication of guilt will be withheld.” As a result, Wilkie will not be convicted of a criminal offense, but will have to serve five years probation. During that time, she has to adhere to the following conditions:

  • Must not possess pets or animals
  • Cannot be involved in any manner with animal breeding of any kind
  • Must pay court costs and restitution

The court documents state that the restitution Wilkie must pay has yet to be determined. Read the full plea deal document below:

An Action News Jax investigation last October revealed Wilkie had previously accumulated nearly $300,000 in prior code enforcement fines.

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Here is a timeline of events in the rescue of the animals found on Wilkie’s property:

Oct. 11, 2021: The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said at least 100 animals have been rescued from a one-acre property on Old Jennings Road.

Oct. 12, 2021: CCSO announces that the number of animals rescued has grown to 257 and they are being taken to the Clay County Fairgrounds.

Oct. 14, 2021: Clay County files a civil petition against Wilkie, requesting compensation for providing reasonable care to the animals, including veterinary care, food, medicine and boarding.

Oct. 22, 2021: The number of animals rescued has grown to 277. The county has put the dogs, chickens, goats, turtles, bunnies, and pigs up in a barn at the county fairgrounds.

Nov. 3, 2021: Preregistration opens for Clay County Fairgrounds’ animal adoption event to adopt the rescued animals.

Nov. 13, 2021: The hundreds of rescued animals prepare for forever homes at the adoption event held at the fairgrounds.

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