Officials with the Cook County Sheriff Department's Animal Crimes Unit on Friday afternoon executed a search warrant on a South Suburban animal rescue facility after receiving a tip that some of the animals there were being mistreated.
Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, a non-profit organization in unincorporated Tinley Park, bills itself as an animal rescue site, taking in dogs, cats, horses, llamas and miniature ponies.
But officials were told that some of the animals kept at the location, at 555 W. 175th St., were not being appropriately cared for.
There were dead animals found on the property, the source said.
Officials from the Animal Welfare League of Chicago Ridge arrived on the scene after law enforcement.
From NBC Chicago's helicopter, animals could be seen being escorted to awaiting vehicles, presumably to be taken to other sanctuaries. There was no evidence from NBC Chicago's video of any malnourished or mistreated animals.
The search warrant was executed at about 1 p.m. At least two dozen horses remained on the property at 4:30 p.m.
It appears that Painted Pastures was aware the action was coming.
"Just to set the record straight, Painted Pastures is not closing down, is not bankrupt [and] is not being forced to close," said Dawn Harley, who bills herself as the director of the organization, in a Tuesday post on Facebook.
Harley said the tip about mistreated animals was a "rumor" that was "the works of a disgruntled employee" who was "taking in more dogs than we can handle at this time."
"The dogs are in good shape and have had medical treatment, but I, as the director, do not believe we can give proper attention to this number of animals," she wrote.
One woman has been taken into custody.