Picture this if you can. You have a basement in your home, and you have filled it with 150 dogs in cages. They live down there. When it’s not too cold out, you run fans to circulate the air, and when it’s warm enough you open the windows for some ventilation. It is January in Kankakee County, northeastern Illinois. Welcome to Adrien’s Puppy Paradise in St. Anne, Il.
4/07 UPDATE: 80 Dogs Removed from Adrian’s Puppy Paradise
(2/08 and 2/15 UPDATES: please follow this link – ***Petition and Updated Post***)
Care to breathe that air? Care to be one of the dogs condemned to living out their lives in those cages, in that basement? According to reports by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Kankakee County Animal Control, the cages sometimes have 2-4 dogs each. Lucky to have a cage to yourself? Probably not. Dogs were seen in cages no bigger than their own bodies. Regardless of the number of cage-mates, many are unable to move they’re so crowded. Some cages have a male and a female, apparently for breeding (a pair was seen mating during a county inspection visit).
Flooring in these cages is slatted plastic. The cages are elevated, with paper beneath to catch urine and feces. The dogs are provided with nothing more than a bowl of water and a self-feeder. No bed to lie on, nowhere to sit or stand, oftentimes no room to move, and certainly no toys to play with. The basement is conveniently arranged so that the dogs will survive – and mate when puppies are desired – without so much as an ounce of human interaction or time outside of those prison cells.
Adrian’s Puppy Paradise is known to sell their puppies via a website on the internet and at flea markets. The owner is Louise Gutierrez, the business apparently named after the man she needs to help bring puppies up from the basement – she cannot do it herself due to physical ailments. So if he’s not around, those dogs are doomed if there’s an emergency.
So far, the Dept. of Ag. hasn’t done anything. Kankakee County Animal Control issued recommendations after a February, 2014 visit – but those seem to have gone unheard. The county personnel did remove some of the dogs at that time, and leave the owner with an antibacterial salve for a dog they noticed had severe dermatitis on the bottom of his scrotum (probably from the cage flooring).
But the Illinois Department of Agriculture? The state department that rescue organizations are petrified of not dotting i’s and crossing t’s for – ? They seem to think everything is just fine at Adrian’s Puppy Paradise, and that the dogs are being well-cared for. A department inspector has visited Adrian’s dogs five times because of complaints filed – in 2014 alone.
We’ve heard the horror stories about federal inspectors and the gross negligence they have overlooked when inspecting USDA licensed “breeders”. Is the state of Illinois’ Department of Agriculture no better?
There is a particular detail of note in this situation, though. Remember Puppy Parlor in Lisle, IL? The pet store that was breeding their own puppies right there in the dank backroom? The Dept of Ag inspector who has repeatedly visited Adrian’s Puppy Paradise is none other than Joel Aschermann – the same inspector who said Puppy Parlor didn’t have any violations, and that the dogs were in good condition.
You can ask the volunteers of Almost Home Foundation what kind of condition those dogs were in. They’ll tell you all about the health woes, the physical ailments, and the behavioral issues caused from mental/emotional neglect the Puppy Parlor dogs suffered from. They’ll tell you all about just how much it cost the organization in vet bills, trainers, rehabilitation – and the priceless contributions of foster homes and volunteers it all took to enable those dogs to be adoptable. Right…”good condition”…
Something must be done. We as a society cannot turn our heads away and ignore what our neighbors are doing (or in this case, neglecting to do) with the dogs in their care. 100 dogs plus however many puppies are currently on hand is hoarding. You cannot do “factory farming” in your basement with man’s best friend. It is cruel, inhumane, downright criminal.
Want to help? For starters – “like” Companion Animals Protection Society’s Facebook Page, follow their progress at their website (and check it out – it’s chock-full of puppy mill info!), message if you live or work in or near St. Anne, IL and want to help…and spread the word! Share this post and CAPS website.
We need to speak out, be a thorn in someone’s side, and continue to file complaints, write letters, make phone calls (you can reach the Il Dept of Ag at 217/782-4944 ), and urge those in charge to change the regulations – and the definition of what constitutes “good condition” of a dog kept in prison-like captivity. Even criminals get time out of their cells.
I can’t tell you how hard it’s been to write this post. I felt so horrible just looking at those photos. Even more so… CindyLu has been sleeping next to me – all comfy-cozy and content after a good meal, a longish walk (it’s really freezing out tonight!) and some quality snuggling time. Those dogs in their cages would probably give their right paws for just one hour like that…
*Photos obtained from Illinois Department of Agriculture inspection reports (marked with Joel Ashermann and date taken), and courtesy of CAPS private investigator. Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) will continue to investigate and monitor this situation.