Suzette Stocker waits in the Wapello County Courthouse Thursday morning. Stocker is accused of 126 counts of animal neglect. - Courier Photo by: Doug Sundin

OTTUMWA — Suzette Stocker, the woman whose rural Ottumwa home contained more than 120 dogs and cats when authorities raided it in late February, has pleaded guilty to five counts of animal neglect.

The plea agreement represents a fraction of the original 126 counts she faced. County Attorney Allen Cook said he believes the agreement was the right thing to do.

“The decision was made to arrive at the agreement with due dilligence and taking into account each of the major players and their observations,” he said. “The consensus was that the agreement reached was fair and appropriate given [Stocker’s] circumstances.”

The agreement means Stocker, 60, will pay a fine of $65 plus a 32 percent surcharge. She will not face jail time. Cook said circumstances unique to this case played a role in the decision.

The raid was one of a series of animal neglect cases in the Ottumwa area uncovered in February and March of this year. Donna Marie Rhodes, owner of the Court Hill Pet Palace, pleaded guilty to four charges after police raided the pet store in mid-February. She was fined $700 plus court costs.

Charges are still pending against Donnalee McCoy, 64, of Ottumwa. Police raided McCoy’s property in early March and found more than 80 cats. Most of the cats were euthanized.

A pretrial hearing for McCoy has been set for 9 a.m. April 15 in Wapello County District Court.

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at


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