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43 puppies abused, 2 Britt men arrested

This news story was published on February 10, 2012.
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Jonathan Bullington, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO – The 43 puppies rescued from in a van parked in the Little Village neighborhood Tuesday morning were packed three-to-six animals per carrier and bound for pet stores in Chicago and New York, an animal control official said Wednesday.

The puppies, some as young as 6 to 8 weeks, vary in breed from boxers and huskies to Chihuahuas and Pekinese, said Cherie Travis, executive director of Chicago’s Department of Animal Care and Control. She said they came from a large-scale breeding operation in Iowa.

The department has taken custody of the puppies pending the results of a legal case against two men found in possession of the animals.

Travis Wester, 22, and Larry Subject, 49, both of Iowa, were each charged with misdemeanor failing to meet animal owner duties and cruelty to animals, according to a statement from Chicago police News Affairs. They were each ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail in a hearing before Cook County Judge Gloria Chevere today, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

About 7 a.m. Tuesday, police noticed a van parked in the 2500 block of West Cermak Road, prosecutors said Wednesday. Officers saw two men, later identified as Wester and Subject, sleeping in the van.

An officer also heard loud barking coming from the vehicle’s rear and when police checked, they found 43 animals in cramped containers, without adequate food or water, according to police. The animals were in about 10 cages, all of them dirty and filled with urine and feces, prosecutors said.

Officers found that Wester and Subject, both of Britt in north-central Iowa, had driven seven hours to Chicago with the puppies, from an Iowa puppy mill, prosecutors said.

Today, Travis could not comment on the puppies’ condition, but said they are currently in quarantine at the shelter because of their age and to protect their health. She described the carriers in which the animals were found as being the type typically used by pet owners to transport one animal to the veterinarian. Some containers were stacked, she said, while others were placed in a row.

Animal Care and Control has had no previous contact with the two individuals arrested, she said. And while she has not personally seen the transportation of this many puppies in her two years with the department, she speculated the incident is not the first time breeders have come to Chicago.

“Sometimes we see a breeding operation,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve seen the transport side.”

Travis credited police with being “alert and astute” to notice the puppies in the vehicle.

“This was really good police work,” she said.

Wester and Subject were scheduled to appear in Misdemeanor Court Branch 43  again on Feb. 16, for both a hearing on their criminal case and on a petition of forfeiture to have the puppies confiscated, Conklin said.

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4 Responses to 43 puppies abused, 2 Britt men arrested

  1. Avatar

    Jubilant Reply Report comment

    February 17, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Chicago judge orders these puppies returned to their owner….finds no mistreatment or abuse took place. Chicago Animal Control were on a Witch Hunt, maybe they should be looking closer to home. This facility has a horrendous record of abuse and overcrowding for several years………

    • Avatar

      iheartdogs Reply Report comment

      February 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Jubilant, are you serious? Do you think the Chicago Animal Control was on a witch hunt trying to track down possible puppy mill transportation? Do you think they have a detective unit tracking this stuff down? This is unfortunate since the judge seems to be a complete idiot and does not realize that these puppies were raised in an abusive manor and these d-bags will make a profit on that. sick.

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    Maxine Beckner Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    So can anything be done to the person who hired these guys to transport these puppies? If the breeder saw how these puppies were put into the van, IMHO s/he would be just as guilty as these men.

  3. Avatar

    Jenna Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

    This is absolutely horrible!!!! Hope these guys don’t get a slap on the wrist & actually receive maximum punishment by law. Anyone who could hurt an animal is an evil monster!! 🙁