The South Suburban Humane Society took possession Monday of another five dogs from a property near Peotone where 48 dogs had previously been rescued from alleged squalid conditions, according to the group’s chief executive.
Emily Klehm said that the society has received more than 500 inquiries from people hoping to adopt the dogs, which were removed from the property Oct. 26 and Friday.
She said the society hoped to have the first group of about five of the “healthiest and friendliest” dogs available for adoption by Friday, with additional tentative rounds of adoptions scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 1. She recommended that anyone interested in providing a home for one of the rescued dogs should follow the Humane Society’s Facebook page for updates.
“Our intention is that every single one will be placed in a home for adoption,” Klehm said. “We want them to go to forever homes.”
Of the initial 48 dogs rescued, one died and the remaining animals have been placed with foster volunteers for proper care and nutrition. Some of them had to first be tended to by area veterinarians, and Klehm said she was unsure whether the five additional dogs would go directly to foster homes or need to be seen by a vet.
Klehm said there was no running water in the home where the dogs were kept, and that there “was just filth and feces everywhere.”
All of the dogs are small, popular breeds, including Yorkies, dachshunds, Chihuahuas and pugs, according to Klehm. She claimed the property owners were allegedly operating an illegal puppy mill and profiting from the sale of the dogs.
She said that there is “really a range” of conditions among the dogs, with some that are “relatively healthy” as well as a couple of animals that are paralyzed.
“Some were painfully skinny,” Klehm said.
When the dogs were brought to the society in Chicago Heights and offered food, “they started fighting each other for food,” Klehm said, leading staff to speculate that when food had been put out for the animals at the property where they were kept, the more dominant animals edged out the others.
Some of the dogs are as young as 31/2 weeks, several are 2 to 5 years old while some are more than 10 years old, she said.
“Everyone is at a different level of need,” Klehm said of the dogs. “Some are friendly and somewhat social.”
However, there are also “a few you can’t pick up, you can’t touch. They’re just terrified,” she said.
Klehm said the Humane Society has been deluged with phone calls and emails from people interesting in adoption since Chicago-area media first reported about the rescues.
Still, she cautioned those hoping to adopt one of the dogs that some of the animals “may never be house-trained because they always went wherever they wanted in the house” where they were kept, while others “may always be fearful of people.” The younger the dog, the better the chance of them being house broken or to become more social, she said.
On Oct. 26, the Humane Society removed some dogs from the property after paramedics responding to the location discovered the conditions. At that time, staff saw the property only from the outside, but when they returned this past Friday, “we insisted on going inside the home,” Klehm said.
Until learning Monday that there were additional dogs, she said the Humane Society, after the follow-up visit, believed all of the animals had been recovered. Klehm described it as “a strange situation,” and that “we’ll deal with it as it comes.”
The home where the dogs were kept has since been declared uninhabitable by Will County officials. It was unclear whether charges will be filed against the owner of the property. A message left Monday with the Will County sheriff’s police seeking comment was not returned.
Contributing: Freelance reporter Frank Vaisvilas