Sunday, the dogs were shaved, bathed and appeared to have typical puppy energy, which made it hard to believe that some of the designer dogs may have died if they had not been rescued.
"These dogs, I would say, if things went on for another week, at least a dozen would probably be dead," said Larry Draus of the Cook County sheriff's police.
Acting on a tip, the Cook County sheriff's police discovered what they call an illegal puppy mill at a Peotone property. Forty-nine dogs were kept in a small barn with no heat. Investigators say the puppies were found in cages stacked four high.
Feces and urine were falling off the top cage, down to the second and third cages," Draus said. "Some of the dogs were so matted that they couldn't move...And they were dehydrated and malnourished and emaciated."
Investigators say the owner would sell the designer dogs for $600 to $700 each. She would never allow her customers to come to the Peotone location. Instead, she would deliver the dogs.
The woman who ran the mill is cooperating with police. She turned the dogs to police Friday afternoon voluntarily. Now, all 49 puppies are being cared for by the PAWS organization in Tinley Park.
"Give us a couple weeks. Keep checking PetFinder. We'll have everything up online when they are ready for adoption," said Kim Bergen of PAWS.
Police say the dogs' owner did not have a license to run a puppy mill. She could face up to 49 counts of animal cruelty.
For more information on adopting a pet, log on to http://www.pawsforall.petfinder.com.