Crime

Family arrested after police say they found 91 dogs in ‘deplorable conditions’ in Southern Illinois

Sean Casler (left), Trudie Casler (center) and Matthew Casler (right)
Sean Casler (left), Trudie Casler (center) and Matthew Casler (right)

A family has been arrested after police said they found 91 dogs living in deplorable conditions at a residence in rural Macedonia.

Trudie D. Casler, 54, and her sons, Matthrew Casler, 32, and Sean Casler, 30, were arrested and authorities are reviewing evidence for charges after the dogs were found.

The three were being held at the Franklin County Jail on Wednesday morning.

“We can anticipate some felony charges,” said Sheriff Donald Jones.

Jones said animal control officers responded to a complaint on Monday. The family refused to allow officers into the home.

“They could hear a large number of dogs. They called us and we got a search warrant,” Jones said.

Officers found “deplorable conditions” where 91 dogs were living inside the home, Jones said. Deputies said the “stench was unbelievable” inside the home.

The 91 dogs taken from a home in rural Macedonia are not in any condition to be adopted, says Franklin County’s animal control officer Thad Snell.

Snell said 61 dogs have been transferred to no-kill facilities including a rescue organization that assisted in removing the dogs from the home on Monday night.

The dogs have no “basic obedience... they have no human skills now.” The dogs are all mixed-breed and mostly medium to large, Snell said.

“For lack of a better term, (these are) inbred animals. I don’t see any reason to believe any of them were stolen. (They were) all her dogs, and just multiplied.”

Jones said it did not appear to be a puppy mill — that all types and sizes of dogs were at the home.

“There were bags of dog food outside, looked like they had just arrived there,” Snell said. “Inside the home there was no food or water available to any of the animals.”

“I thought animal control did an outstanding job. It’s not easy to deal with stuff like this,” Jones said. Animal control officers were at the home 12 hours on Monday, and were finding appropriate placement for the dogs.

“We didn’t have a place here for that many dogs at one time. When you get something like that, that’s overwhelming,” Jones said.

Snell said people in similar situations often think they are rescuing the animals.

“It’s not rescue. Rescue, to me, is taking the animals and being able to provide everything they need — preventative care, food, water and, for lack of a better word, love for the animal,” Snell said.

“Just having it around you, that’s not being a proper owner.”

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535, @MaryCooleyBND
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