- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

HYDE PARK, Vt. (AP) - The case of a woman accused of keeping dozens of dogs and cats in deplorable conditions in her Vermont home has been delayed.

Carol Merchant was expected to reach a plea deal Wednesday but the agreement didn’t happen.

Instead, the defense asked for another mental evaluation of the Eden woman to determine her current competency to stand trial. The judge granted the request and scheduled a status hearing for the end of August.

Merchant previously pleaded not guilty to eight counts of animal cruelty. Police say Merchant was keeping at least 63 malnourished dogs and cats in her Eden home. The animals were seized in February 2015.

Her attorney had asked for an extension last year pending the results from an earlier mental evaluation.

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