State's Attorney Refuses to Bring Charges Against Illinois Puppy Mill (Lorton)

CAPS Investigators Found Numerous Violations and Rescued Nine Dogs

Stephen Friedel, the state's attorney in Fayette County, Illinois refused to bring charges against the Lorton facility. In March 2002, Mr. Friedel met with CAPS Lead Investigator, Julie Workman. CAPS president, Deborah Howard, attended the meeting by phone. Mr. Friedel said that he knows the state inspector and can't believe that "such an honest guy" would lie on an inspection report. The state and federal inspectors found no violations at the Lorton facility. CAPS Investigators found numerous Animal Welfare Act violations during seven visits to this horrible puppy mill. They also rescued nine dogs.

CAPS lead investigator, Julie Workman, witnessed Sassy, a Great Pyrenees whom she was rescuing, being beaten by Mr. Lorton. Other dogs CAPS rescued from this puppy mill are extremely afraid of men. The state's attorney said that it is just Ms. Workman's word against that of the puppy mill owner. Some of the dogs seen by CAPS investigators desperately needed veterinary care. They saw a dead mother dog that had been thrown outside the door of the whelping building. Mr. Friedel said that there is a lower standard of care in Fayette County because it is a farming community. He added that a jury would side with the Lortons because dogs are considered livestock in this community.

Mr. Friedel promised to inspect the Lorton puppy mill with the state inspector, but failed to do so. He also promised to call the state department of conservation because Mr. Lorton is trapping birds -- he claims they eat the dog food that is strewn all over -- and letting them starve to death. Despite numerous calls to the state conservation department by Ms. Workman, the state won't go out to inspect. Mr. Friedel finally did call conservation and claims that they instructed the Lortons to use humane methods of bird trapping. The Lortons shouldn't be trapping birds at all. And birds wouldn't be a problem if the Lortons cleaned up the food that is strewn by the dogs from the self-feeders.

What we experienced in Illinois is quite common in rural communities in the Midwest. Once a place is federally licensed, local authorities don't feel it is their responsibility to step-in. But it is extremely difficult to get something done on a local level. Usually, the puppy mill operator knows the sheriff, prosecutor or even the judge, as in the McVeigh case, which was featured on the "Dateline" story.

Contact the state's attorney in Fayette County and tell him that you want charges brought against the Lortons for cruelty and inhumane treatment of animals.

Mr. Stephen Friedel
State's Attorney of Fayette County
221 S. 7th St.
Vandalia, IL 6247
1 618-283-5040

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