Ella Stewart pleads guilty to animal cruelty - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ella Stewart pleads guilty to animal cruelty

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Ella Stewart, the woman accused of running a puppy mill in Kennewick and raising nearly 400 dogs in deplorable conditions, has changed her plea to 'guilty' of 10 counts of animal cruelty.

In a Benton County courtroom Thursday afternoon, Stewart entered a plea deal and changed her original plea of 'not guilty' to 'guilty'.

Stewart says running a puppy mill was never her intention, and she did her very best to take care of the American Eskimo dogs. She did, however, admit that her decision to take on so many animals was indeed negligent.

Based on her plea, the court found her guilty of one count of first degree animal cruelty (felony charge) and nine misdemeanor charges. Stewart's attorney, Peyman Younesi, negotiated what he said was a fair plea deal.

"She is very adamant that she would like to have a longer sentencing if you will see, she would [like] for the community and the judge to really hear her side of the story." Said Younesi.

Stewart will be sentenced next week.