On Nov. 3, over 50 dogs were rescued from a home in Peotone by the South Suburban Humane Society.
CEO of the Humane Society Emily Klehm revealed that the situation had come to light in late October when a woman at the residence needed medical assistance. Thirteen dogs were taken from the home at the time. It was not until a second visit to the home that the humane society found more than 30 dogs that the owners hid during the first visit.
According to Klehm, the dogs were all severely under-socialized and in desperate need of better care.
The dogs that were found showed signs of malnourishment, tumors and infections in their eyes. It is believed that the owners were breeding these dogs similar to the way they would for a puppy mill and making a profit from them.
The dogs found were all small breeds, such as chihuahuas, pugs and yorkies, which typically all bring in big profits.
“When people buy a puppy from a flea market or online and they don’t have any idea of where that puppy is coming from, these are the conditions that they are coming from. That’s why it’s important to do your research and to always make adoption your first choice,” Klehm said in a statement to WGN.
Local animal activist groups have been setting up protests in the Joliet area for the past few years to protect against similar situations. Peaceful protests have been held outside the Furry Babies store at the Westfield Joliet Mall to stop people from buying pets from shelters that get their animals from puppy mills.
Will County officials have since declared the house uninhabitable due to a lack of running water and excessive filth, including feces and garbage, because of the owner’s hoarding.
“The behavior of hoarding will relieve anxiety just as it causes anxiety,” said clinical mental health counseling graduate student Constantine Sparagis. “Hoarding can be associated with a variety of mental illnesses, though it is most often associated with obsessive-compulsive personality, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and depression.”
There have not yet been any charges filed against the offenders, but all animals have been removed from their care.
Not all of the dogs were rescued in time; one needed to be euthanized due to kidney failure and cancer. The others have been moved to foster homes and will be available for adoption in the coming weeks. Still, the shelter is in need of donations for medical costs, which for these dogs can reach thousands of dollars.
Those who are interested in donating can visit www.southsuburbanhumane.org/donate. Updates regarding the dogs can be found on the South Suburban Humane Society Facebook page.