SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT RAIDS PUPPY MILL
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 — Nearly 70 lap-sized dogs were rescued from a deplorable puppy mill Tuesday, as a result of an investigation by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department’s Animal Crimes Unit, the Office of Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced.
Demetria Newell, 38, faces 67 counts of animal cruelty for running the illegal operation from her home in the 6400 block of South Bell Street in Chicago. In addition, Newell’s live-in boyfriend, David Hayes, 37, is charged with felony possession of marijuana, after investigators found a gallon-sized freezer bag filled with marijuana. A handgun and $3,000 in cash were also recovered at the home, following a morning raid by the Sheriff’s Department, Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – all of whom jointly investigate animal crimes in the Chicago area.
“No animal deserves to be treated as inhumanely as these puppies were,” Dart said. “They were standing in their own feces, were stacked in cages on top of each other and the stench from the home was overpowering even outside. It was sickening.”
Among the 67 dogs rescued were Pomeranians, Malteses, Pugs and Dachshunds, which investigators said Newell was selling for $475 to $600 each.
Some of the dogs were kept in bird cages, while others were in tiny cages stacked four high – some crammed into cages so small that the dogs could not move.
Nearly all of the dogs rescued were found without food or water when officers arrived. Feces and urine were found throughout the home, while dozens of dogs ran free throughout the house. Some puppies were kept in laundry baskets, while a mother dog was found nursing her litter in a hallway closet.
Also found throughout the home were syringes, medication and other medical supplies. When an undercover Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer first talked with Newell, she indicated she provided follow-up veterinary care in her home, if needed.
Despite the conditions of the home and some dogs, Dart said it’s likely all will be adopted.
“I have every confidence these dogs will find good homes,” he said. “Most are in pretty good condition and deserve to be placed with a loving family and never again subjected to the filthy conditions they’ve so far grown up in.”
All of the dogs were transported to the Chicago Animal Care and Control facility at 2741 S. Western Ave., where they are undergoing examinations and being checked for vaccinations. If cleared for adoption, they will be taken to shelters throughout Cook County.
This seizure of animals is among the largest operations carried out by the Sheriff’s Department’s Animal Crimes Unit – a team Dart created last year in response to the growing problems in abuse of animals, including dog fighting and neglect.
Last year, the unit made the single largest seizure of fighting dogs in Illinois history, while the unit also broke up its first dog fight in progress.
If you have a tip or know of a case the unit should investigate, please call 708-865-4720.