- Illinois, USA -
Update: October 2, 2021
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin (pictured below) announced in a news release that Judge Robert Miller has found 32-years-old GARRETT S. MERCADO (pictured below) guilty of three counts of animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor, and six counts of violation of owner’s duties, a Class B misdemeanor.
The release goes on to say that Judge Miller issued his ruling following a five-day-long bench trial where MERCADO faced more than two dozen charges as the result of a 2019 fire at an unincorporated West Chicago kennel, run by MERCADO, that resulted in the death of twenty-nine innocent dogs.
MERCADO, of 2346 Cambridge Lane, Woodridge, is slated to appear back in court on October 22, 2021, for sentencing.
After a six-month investigation, 29-year-old GARRETT S. MERCADO (pictured below), is finally facing multiple counts of cruelty to animals following the deadly fire that caused the death of 29 innocent and helpless dogs.
MERCADO is a licensed operator of The Bully Life Animal Services, formerly known as D & D Kennels where the fire broke on the early morning of January 14.
At the time of the fire MERCADO was living on the second floor of the kennel facility but he wasn’t home during the blaze. Reportedly, he told investigators he had left the dogs many hours earlier to visit a friend and returned to discover the fire.
A DuPage County Sheriff Deputy observed the kennel on fire and stepped in trying to free as many dogs as he could.
The rescued dogs were brought to DuPage County Animal Services where they were given medical care and checked for microchips to be connected to their families.
Some of the deceased dogs were unidentifiable.
An investigation into the fire conducted by the DuPage County Fire Investigative Task Force revealed that numerous dogs were mistreated suffering puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting and dehydration.
MERCADO, who operated the former D and D Kennel located at 2N441 North County Farm Road, was arrested on the evening of Wednesday, July 10, and was charged with 28 misdemeanor counts including 14 of animal cruelty and 14 of violation of owner’s duties.
He was arrested on a $50,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant.
The following day he posted the necessary 10%, or $5,000, and was released from custody.
On the afternoon of Thursday, July 11, a news conference took place and DuPage County State’s Attorney, Robert B. Berlin accused MERCADO of allowing dogs to live in “cruel and inhumane conditions.”
Officials said that there were 58 dogs living in the kennel. The poor furbabies were kept in crates stacked on top of one another without food and water.
“Many of the crates did not have trays so that the dogs on the top half would urinate and defecate on the dogs below them”, Berlin said during the news conference. He added that other dogs were “tethered in a way that restricted their movement.”
These conditions caused the dogs to “die a horrible death” during the fire.
The bodies of some of the furbabies were never recovered.
Berlin also mentioned a dog named Coco who died in the fire after being tethered to a bathtub bar on the second floor.
He said Coco was tethered so tightly it's unlikely he would have been able to lie down or move. His body was found under a pile of debris after the fire.
MERCADO is scheduled to appear in court August 12.
He could spend up to ONLY A YEAR in jail, if convicted.
Authorities say the business had passed an inspection in July 2018, by the Department of Agriculture. At the time of the inspection, there were 35 dogs on the premises.
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