A Bradford woman’s Facebook post focused on animals sparked an investigation overnight in Galva, IL.
In an exclusive interview, Dina Crawford tells Local 4 News she believes dozens of dogs are in danger on a property in that area.
The dogs can be seen behind a large fence off of Illinois State Route 17. Crawford says she and her husband saw an advertisement in the paper for a “puppy caregiver” and thought it would be a great job for their daughter, Angie Crawford.
Angie is studying to be a veterinarian and was hoping to combine work and school, but after her first day she says she left in tears.
“I got into my car and I just lost it,” said Angie. “I started crying and I called my mom and I told her I can’t do this anymore because he is physically harming the dogs.”
Angie says she saw the owner hit the dogs with a PVC pipe, and kick a puppy into a fence.
Dina says she and her daughter returned to the property to find out what happened, which is when Dina says she saw the poor conditions for herself.
On Wednesday evening Dina posted on Facebook about the events, and attached over a dozen photos of the dogs.
By Thursday evening, the post had over 5,000 shares on Facebook, and has reached thousands of users, demanding action.
Dina says she’s had several people reach out with similar stories, saying they witnessed abuse, poor living conditions, and adopted sick dogs from the owner.
Since posting to Facebook, Dina and Angie say they have been threatened by the owner and verbally abused, and were threatened with a lawsuit. But both women say they won’t stop fighting for the dogs.
Dina says she had numerous concerns when she arrived.
“The living conditions, the amount of dogs that were there, the fact that there was very limited to no shelter,” said Dina.
She says what started with a Facebook post has quickly turned into an ugly battle.
“We are fearful that we are going to have people showing up at our home. But I’m not going to back down.”
Megan Payette says she is a former employee of the owner, and says the Crawford’s are telling the truth. Payette says when she saw the Facebook post, she wasn’t surprised.
“The PVC pipe…he doesn’t feed them everyday…they were always covered in their own feces…It’s just sad.”
Payette says she frequently cleaned feces off of the dogs, and says many were left out in cold conditions and even died from being left outdoors.
Payette says she worked for the owner last summer, and most recently over the winter. She says she returned because she needed to support her family, but also to check on the dogs.
“I love the puppies and I felt like they needed at least somebody there that would care,” said Payette.
But all three women say it’s going to take more than the three of them to make a change, and they’re strongly urging local law enforcement to get involved.
“I hope it works,” said Payette. “I hope these puppies get the homes they deserve.”
After gaining thousands of supporters overnight, Dina says this is just the beginning.
“We’ve had over four thousand shares in less than a 24 hour period, several people have come forward with information,” said Dina.
And she hopes something is done soon to bring these dogs to safety.
“They can’t speak for themselves,” said Dina. “So it’s going to take somebody willing to speak for them and stand up for them.”
The Knox County Sheriff’s Department says they’ve received a long list of messages, and say they are investigating.
The Knox County Humane Society say their phone has also been ringing off the hook, but the manager tells Local 4 News while they want to help, right now it is up to authorities to take action.
Local 4 News has reached out to the dog owner. We are still waiting on that response.