DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin and DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick announced today that a Woodridge man is facing more than two dozen misdemeanor charges stemming from a fire at a Carol Stream kennel he operated that claimed the lives of twenty-nine dogs. Yesterday afternoon, a $50,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant was issued for Garrett Mercado, 29 (d.o.b. 10/1/1989) of 2346 Cambridge Lane. Garrett operated the former D and D Kennel located at 2N441 North County Farm Road. He has been charged with fourteen counts of Animal Cruelty, a Class A Misdemeanor and fourteen counts of Violation of Owner’s Duties, a Class B Misdemeanor. Garret was taken into custody yesterday evening. This morning he posted the necessary 10% or $5,000 and was released from custody.
On January 14, 2019, at approximately 5:20 a.m., a DuPage County Sheriff Deputy observed the kennel on fire. An investigation into the fire conducted by the DuPage County Fire Investigative Task Force found the cause of the fire to be undetermined. Following an investigation that revealed that twenty-nine dogs died in the blaze, it is alleged that numerous other dogs were mistreated suffering puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting and dehydration. It is also alleged that there was a foul odor throughout the facility and that urine stains, fresh and old feces and empty water bowls were found in the kennel. It is further alleged that the kennel runs were not sanitary and that dogs were kept in cages stacked upon one another. It is alleged that dogs were placed in cages or crates too small for them, dogs were inappropriately tethered and that one dog was tethered to a bar in a bathtub in a fashion that would restrict or prevent movement. It is further alleged that Garrett abandoned the dogs at which time a fire erupted resulting in the dogs’ deaths.
“What happened in the early morning hours of January 14 is heart-breaking,” Berlin said. “It is alleged that Mr. Garrett’s disregard for the health and safety of nearly sixty dogs in his care resulted in the death of twenty-nine of those dogs when a fire engulfed the D and D Kennel. I would like to thank the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office for their quick actions once the fire was discovered as well as for their assistance throughout this case. I would also like to thank the Carol Stream, Wheaton and West Chicago Fire Departments as well as the DuPage County Fire Investigative Task Force for their efforts that allowed us to charge this defendant. I like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Rabulinski as well as State’s Attorney Investigators Dave Zdan and Cheryl York for their outstanding efforts the past several months resulting in today’s charges.”
“I’m truly saddened to see any dogs be treated in this manner,” Mendrick said. “Many times, animals have no advocates. 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. This situation also created an environment where one of our deputies had to risk his life by running into a burning building to save as many dogs as he could. This never should have happened. We depend on our various pets and animals to give us comfort every day, and with that being said, we owe them proper care and treatment in return. I want to thank our States Attorney, Bob Berlin, and his staff for working so closely with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure justice is served and something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Garrett’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 12, 2019, in front of Judge Brian Jacobs.
Members of the public are reminded that these complaints contain only charges and are not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.