Kennel owner found guilty of animal cruelty for 2019 fire

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The owner of a kennel operation in DuPage County, Illinois, has been found guilty of animal cruelty in connection with a 2019 fire that killed 29 dogs. According to multiple sources, 32-year-old Garrett Mercado, operator of the former D and D Kennel was found guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and six counts of violation of owner’s duties.

DuPage County Judge Robert Miller found Mercado guilty after a five-day bench trial. After the verdict DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said:

Judge Miller’s ruling verifies what we have said all along, that Garrett Mercado completely disregarded the health and safety of numerous dogs in his care.

Aside from having no fire prevention measures in place, the authorities allege that dogs at the facility were kept in filthy, dangerous conditions, including dogs being held in small crates that we stacked on top of one another. Prosecutors claim that dogs at the facility were also mistreated, suffering puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting and dehydration.

Mercado will be sentenced on October 22.

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