CHICAGO (CBS) — Police called it one of the worst animal abuse cases in Illinois and on Wednesday, after four years, a 33-year-old man was sentenced to 3 years in prison on dozens of charges of animal abuse.
CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports some of the dogs Kevin Taylor was convicted of training to kill have become loving pets for some local families.
Whether she’s playing with a favorite toy, or kissing her piggy pal, Chula’s owner said her happiness lounging at a pet resort in Chicago Ridge is a total switch from the abuse she’s endured.
In 2007, police confiscated Chula and 36 other dogs from a South Holland house where officers said they were trained to fight to the death.
Chula’s new owner said when she first saw pictures of the dog’s injuries, “I cried. I cried; just the look in her eyes. She was frightened and thin and she had sores all over her.”
On Wednesday, Taylor was sentenced to 3 years in prison on 62 charges of dog fighting and animal cruelty.
Taylor’s loved ones refused to comment, but his attorney maintained he did not mistreat the dogs.
“These were older dogs, they had old injuries,” Taylor’s attorney said. “There was sufficient food to feed these dogs and that was one of the points of contention as to whether or not the dogs had been malnourished and they were not.”
But animal rescuers who attended each day of the trial said pairing that view with the scars they’ve seen on the dogs is hard to stomach.
Cynthia Bathurst, with Best Friends Animal Society said it “makes me sick, physically sick, and there’s no way that any of us should not follow these cases and should not demand the fullest prosecution.”
Linda Bober tracked the investigation and fostered several of the animals, adopting two of the dogs – Konerko and A.J.
“I had never seen such atrocities to animals in my life,” she said. “And my thoughts on today, I wish he would have got more time, but it does send a message and hopefully it will stop somebody else from doing the same thing.”
Another of the dogs, named Dora, is getting a new family now. She’s had her own room at the Pawsitively Heaven Pet Resort in Chicago Ridge, complete with a sofa and TV. Those are comforts the family hopes help her forget her painful past.
“She’s really sweet and she’s caring and she’s had a rough life,” Ashley Weg said. “So it would be nice to be able to give her something that she’s never had.”
Not all of the dogs were so lucky. Five of them had to be euthanized. Even the two living at the pet resort have serious issues. At least one has cancer.