Garrett Mercado | DuPage County state's attorney's office

Kennel Operator Charged In January Fire That Killed 29 Dogs

July 11, 2019 - 7:09 pm

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A kennel operator faces 29 misdemeanor charges in connection with the early morning January fire that killed 29 dogs in west suburban Carol Stream.

Garrett Mercado is charged in DuPage County with multiple counts of cruelty to animals and violation of owner’s duties. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 12.

“These dogs lived in cruel and inhumane conditions, and they died a horrible death,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a news conference.

The dogs died in a blaze Jan. 14 in the former D and D Kennel located in Carol Stream in a fire so intense that it burned a hole through the floor of the second story, where Mercado had an apartment, Berlin said.

Mercado had left the dogs without care for 5 hours before the fire started, Berlin said.

About 30 other dogs were saved by a quick thinking sheriff’s deputy and firefighters who entered the burning kennel, the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was inconclusive, prosecutors said. Officials said at the time that the fire did not appear suspicious.

Mercado, of Woodridge, operated the kennel of 58 dogs and was charged with neglecting, mistreating and ultimately abandoning the dogs, the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.

Some of the dogs under his care had suffered puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting and dehydration, prosecutors said.

The kennel, located at 2N441 North County Farm Road, allegedly had a foul odor and urine stains, fresh and old feces and empty water bowls inside, according to prosecutors.

The dogs were allegedly kept in stacked cages or crates, which were too small. Some dogs were kept tethered in a way that prevented movement, prosecutors said.

“Many times, animals have no advocates,” DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick said in the statement. “They can’t report a crime committed against them or tell someone that their being mistreated. That’s why it’s so important for public safety to step up as the guardian for those pets and animals that are being abused or neglected.”

Mercado was arrested Wednesday evening, and was released after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2019. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)