STOLEN DOG FOUND DURING EVICTION REUNITING WITH OWNER
Thursday, January 7, 2010 — A dog stolen before Thanksgiving from a Garfield Park yard was discovered, malnourished, in the basement of a nearby home by Cook County Sheriff’s deputies who were at the house conducting an eviction.
Macho, a bull mastiff and American bulldog mix, was identified thanks to a microchip its owner had implanted in the dog.
Macho’s owner will arrive at Chicago Animal Care and Control, 2741 S. Western Ave., around 5 p.m. today to reunite with his dog.
Macho, a family dog about six years old, was reported missing Nov. 23. The dog had been left in the family’s yard for the day and when they got home, he was gone. Neighbors reported seeing someone suspicious in the yard area that afternoon.
Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Cook County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at 400 N. Trumbull Ave. to evict a man who hadn’t paid his rent in months. When they arrived, they found a teenage boy home alone. They also found three dogs – two severely malnourished and one starved to death. An adult female dog was found dead in an unheated basement, along with an emaciated puppy, while an adult male dog – later determined to be Macho - was found in an unheated garage. Temperatures in the garage and basement were below freezing and deputies found no food or water nearby.
Antonio Harris, 38, came home during the eviction and was immediately arrested on three counts of animal cruelty – a class A misdemeanor.
Those charges, however, could be upgraded, as officers learned today that the deceased dog died from starvation. A microchip in that dog showed it was stolen from a home in Bellwood.
Harris signed documents at the scene stating the dogs were his and the adult male dog and the puppy were taken in by Chicago Animal Care and Control officials. During an examination, a microchip was found in the adult male and officials were able to identify Macho and reach out to the dog’s owner and arranged for today’s reunion.
Cook County Sheriff’s deputies who conduct evictions just last month took classes to help them better identify potential cases of animal cruelty.
Macho’s owner said he had earlier had another dog stolen that had no microchip. He credits the tiny transponder – about the size of a grain of rice implanted between the dog’s shoulder blade – for this reunion.
Harris, who has been arrested numerous times on charges including burglary, theft and aggravated assault, is free on bond. His next court date is set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 2 at Branch 43, which is at Harrison and Kedzie.