Nearly 80 animals, including several dogs, were found living in their own feces inside a home in suburban Steger, where a squatter had allegedly been living for several years.
The owner of the property in the 1100 block of Sauk Trail in Steger called a nearby animal rescue and then police Friday morning for an animal complaint, police said. When they arrived on the property, they found 78 animals, including 21 dogs, six puppies, one cat, several birds and a horse.
Pinky Janota, owner of Settlers Pond animal rescue in Beecher, said the situation was one of the worst cases she has seen in the last five years.
Janota received the call from Pam Pinnow, who recently purchased the home. Pinnow told her she had been trying for months to evict a man living inside. She also told her there were several animals living in their own filth inside as well.
"When I walked through the door, I saw six almost-dead puppies lying in feces and urine and covered in fleas, and it was probably one of the most horrible sights I have ever seen," Janota said.
According to Janota, the man living in the home was running a puppy mill. After police were called, the man willingly gave up all of the animals, and Janota and her staff have been nursing them back to health and preparing them for a new home.
Janota said there will likely be 28 adoptable dogs once they are all healthy again.
The squatter living in the home received several citations for local ordinance violations. Steger Police say they are still investigating the case and will pass the information onto the Cook County state's attorney for possible criminal charges.
Donations to help pay for the animals' treatment and care are being collected via a GoFundMe page for Settlers Pond Animal Shelter.