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SHERIFF’S ANIMAL CRIMES UNIT RESCUES 30 ANIMALS

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Friday, June 19, 2009 — An Arctic fox was among 30 animals rescued from an unlicensed breeder operating out of an automotive business in Crestwood, according to the Office of Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

   Danny Vithoulkas, 44, of the 5200 block of Alexander in Oak Lawn, was charged with nearly a dozen counts of animal related crimes following an investigation where Vithoulkas offered to sell undercover officers two 7-week old German Shepherd puppies.  

   Charges against Vithoulkas include cruel treatment to animals, selling dogs younger than 8 weeks old, operating as a dog dealer without a license, and possession of dangerous animals.

   The animals were being housed in inhumane conditions in a garage and in a junkyard type area in back of the shop.  Many of the dogs appeared ungroomed, with matted and dirty fur as well as fly-bites on their backs and ears.  Filthy water, urine and feces were found in and around the cages, many of which were shopping carts with plywood over the top.

   Animals rescued as a result of this investigation were 11 German Shepherd puppies, 13 adult German Shepherds, 1 Pit Bull puppy, 1 adult Pit Bull, 1 adult Rottweiler mix, 2 coyotes and 1 Arctic fox.  All the animals were taken to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge where they will be examined and evaluated.  The coyotes and fox will then be transferred to a wildlife refuge, while the dogs will be available for adoption.

   The Animal Crimes Unit is comprised of officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, the Chicago Police Department and Agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

   Vithoukas is scheduled to appear at the Bridgeview Courthouse on July 29th.

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