DuPage County kennel owner sentenced to 20 days in jail for 2019 fire that killed 29 dogs – NBC Chicago


The owner of a suburban kennel who was convicted of animal cruelty and other charges in a January 2019 fire that killed 29 dogs was sentenced to 20 days in prison, far less than what prosecutors asked for in the case.

Garrett Mercado, operator of the former D & D kennel, was convicted of three counts of animal cruelty and six counts of violation of owner’s duties following a five-day trial before Judge Robert Miller earlier this year, according to the DuPage County State’s Office of the Attorney General.

On Tuesday, Mercado was sentenced to 20 days in the DuPage County Jail. Prosecutors in the case had requested a six-month prison sentence.

Authorities say a DuPge County Sheriff‘s Assistant observed a fire in the kennel on Jan. 14, 2019. An investigation into the fire could not conclusively determine the cause of the blaze, but investigators say that 29 dogs died in the fire after Mercado left the facility for approximately five hours.

During the charge, lawyers said the investigation found that many dogs at the facility had been abused, suffering from puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting. and dehydration. Kennels were not kept sanitary and dogs were kept in cages stacked on top of each other, prosecutors said.

Some dogs were tethered at the facility, including one that was tethered to a bar in a tub that “would prevent or restrict movement,” the state attorney’s office said.

The establishment did not have a fire prevention protocol.

Mercado was living in the building where the kennel was located, but was not at home when the fire broke out. He returned as the fire was unfolding and at the time he told NBC 5 that he “had rushed to try and put it out.”

“As the fire raged in the kennel, the man responsible for the health and safety of these dogs was nowhere to be found,” State Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “This heartbreaking case has certainly touched the lives of many and I sincerely hope that those whose dogs perished in the fire in Mr. Mercado’s care will keep the fond memories of their companions close to their hearts.”

At the end of his prison term, Mercado will only be allowed to own one dog and will serve two years of probation and four years of parole.


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