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Judge Denies Defense Call for Mistrial at Muddy Paws Trial After Woman Vomits

Witnesses testimony, photos show dead, emaciated dogs.

An audience member left the courtroom vomiting during the Muddy Paws animal cruelty trial after hearing testimony from witnesses who observed dozens of dead dogs. 

The animal cruelty trial for , began with opening statements and testimony of witnesses who observed dead dogs at the facility in December.

Throughout the jury selection, jurors were asked if they could handle photos of dead dogs that might be unpleasant.

One audience member at the trial, an elderly woman, could not handle the photos and left the court room vomiting.

The woman became sick during testimony from Cindy Williams, a humane investigator for Lake County Animal Control and one of the first on the scene at Muddy Paws, a former shelter and boarding facility in Deer Park.

Under cross examination, Williams narrated the photos and her observations. During the initial discovery, 14 dogs were found dead and four were alive, but emaciated.

"The floors were covered with trash and feces; it was very cold and very dark," Williams said during testimony with Assistant State's Attorney Suzanne Willett, the co-prosecutor.

The prosecution showed the jury photos of dogs with bones protruding. Williams said the dogs cages were locked, there were empty food bowls, empty water bowls, sticky dried urine and feces covered with mold. She also showed kennels that had plastic jugs filled with water and cans of dog food on top of the cages.

After the audience member left the courtroom sick, Curnyn asked Judge James Booras to call a mistrial, saying his client could not get a fair trial. Although the jurors were removed, they did witness the incident.

Booras replied that the trial is public and audience members are allowed. He did tell audience members that they need to "know better than to react."

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