Illinois officials find more than 100 dogs and cats living in appalling conditions

Nearly 100 cats and dogs were rescued from a home in Northbrook, Illinois that caught fire Monday, and now they need a home.

When firefighters responded to the house fire, they discovered 43 dogs and 48 cats living in appalling conditions.

Harleigh Garcia, the founder and chief executive of Border Tails Rescue in Northbrook, said once the situation was uncovered, animal control would be there by 10 p.m

Crews worked until 3 a.m., she said, and by 7 a.m. animal control workers contacted Border Tails Rescue.

“It was a very short timeline,” Garcia said.

Border Tails Rescue is a dog shelter, so they were unable to accommodate the 48 cats found alive at the home.

But all 43 dogs were accepted into Border Tails Rescue, most of whom had some kind of problem.

The dogs are all Chihuahuas and weigh between five and nine pounds, although one weighed 17 pounds and was considered a mother.

Dogs and cats in the house.
Although the dogs have been rescued, the 48 cats still need a home as there are only dogs.
Facebook/Border Tails rescue

The shelter named all of the dogs after actors and actresses, and the 17-pounder was named Meryl Streep.

Streep, Garcia said, was estimated to be 12 years old and is a hospice case, meaning she appears to have never received medical attention, has a severe heart murmur and has a large mass in her abdomen about the size of a plum.

Streep was part of a bonded couple with a cat named Robin Williams, and both dogs are in foster homes together.

Dog curled up in the corner.
Most of the 43 dogs taken from the home have medical problems.
Facebook/Border Tails rescue
Many of the dogs found were covered in fleas because of the terrible living conditions.
Facebook/Border Tails rescue

Many of the other dogs had fleas and skin, hair and tooth problems.

All dogs must be spayed and neutered and once adopted they require microchipping.

Garcia explained that when her organization first heard about the situation, she didn’t flinch or show any kind of nervousness.

Instead, they went in and did business non-stop because the dogs needed help, she said.

Of course, taking in 43 dogs is a costly endeavor.

In fact, Garcia estimates that it will cost around $25,000 to give the dogs the care they need while making sure they have a roof over their heads and staff to look after them.

The shelter hopes to bring these puppies back to health and find their forever homes.
The shelter hopes to bring these puppies back to health and find their forever homes.
Facebook/Border Tails rescue

The shelter is funded by donations and adoption fees.

To fund the care of the 43 new tenants, Border Tails Rescue is accepting donations on Facebook. The organization hopes to raise $21,500.

Ultimately, Garcia said, the goal is for each of the dogs — not just the 43 admitted this week, but all of the dogs at the shelter — to find forever homes. Illinois officials find more than 100 dogs and cats living in appalling conditions


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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