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article imageChicago-area police find 15 dogs dead in freezer during sting

By Vincent Sobotka     Mar 7, 2011 in Crime
Lowell - Authorities of north-west Indiana's Lake County made a shocking discovery over the weekend as they responded to a complaints from the neighbors of a local dog breeder. The 62-year-old woman resides on West 254th Ave., near Schneider, Indiana.
Lake County Sheriff John Bunchich told local news sources that his team spent three weeks preparing for the rescue operation after police received unusual complaints from neighbors regarding an unbearable odor protruding from an elderly woman's home, as well as eye-witness accounts of her sleeping in her car. Dawn Martin, a next-door resident of the woman, stated that the odor was harsh enough to keep her children from playing in their back yard.
When police and animal control deployed to the home, they entered to find horrific, unlivable conditions, and were even admittedly overcome by the stench despite being armed with Hazmat suits, chemical masks and knee-high rubber boots. Police stated that feces in the home was piled more than one-foot high, garbage was spread everywhere and furniture was over-turned and torn apart.
Nineteen canines were recovered during the operation. The animals were not reported to have behavioral issues, but did seem to be frightened during the rescue. The 19 dogs were sent to the Lake County Animal Control Center for treatment. According to Lake County's local newspaper Post-Tribune, upon examination, the worst suspicion regarding the dogs' health is mange, which is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites However, mammary cancer is also a concern in some of the females, caused by overbreeding, according to NBC Chicago.
Along with Bunchich, who stated the county is beginning a new push to cut down on animal cruelty, the rescue team also included other Lake County officers, veterinarian Rachael Jones of the Southlane Animal Hospital and Anne Sterling of the Humane Society of the United States, members of the Lake County Fire Chiefs Association and the Lake County Hazmat Team.
The Lake County Sheriff's department has declined to yet release the name of the animals' owner because she faces pending charges for animal cruelty, which are expected to be filed today, March 7.
In addition to 19 living dogs, police also found 15 deceased dogs covered in plastic-wrap and stored in a freezer. Additional reports from neighbors of the dogs' owner indicate that she had been living in her car for at least three years. Burcich himself stated that the woman was breeding the dogs and selling the puppies.
More about Indiana, Lake County, Dogs, Animal rescue, Animal cruelty
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