Slowly but surely, a dog found in a field north and east of Manteno with its legs and muzzle zip-tied is recovering from her ordeal in January.
The 9-year-old female Keeshond breed now known as GG is living with an animal foster in Illinois.
GG stands for Good Girl, said Diane Benz, who is GG’s caretaker.
“I tell her that a thousand times a day,” Benz said in a telephone interview.
”To comfort her for what happened and let her know she is alright.”
GG was found by a farmer in a Kankakee county farm field on Jan. 6.
She was one of three Keeshond owned by Linda Stam, a registered American Kennel Club breeder.
Stam is believed to have been running a puppy mill.
It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, fewer than 3,000 of which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the Humane Society of America.
Benz owns, shows and breeds Keeshonds. She has done so for 30-plus years. “I didn’t know a lot about (Stam),” Benz said. “I knew she had been breeding Keeshonds for two decades.”
Benz said she contacted the AKC and they have suspended Stam’s privileges as of Feb. 16.
The Kankakee County State’s Attorney Office charged Stam, 70, with animal torture, cruel treatment of animals and animal neglect.
Court records show Stam was indicted Feb. 5. She paid the required 10 percent of her $25,000 bond. Stam will be formally charged at her Feb. 23 court date. Stam agreed to permanently relinquish all the animals
“I don't know of any other charges at this time, unless new facts come out,” said Erika Hamer, the assistant state’s attorney prosecuting the case.
“I do not have any previous criminal history for her. The defendant has not even been arraigned yet or formally been to court on the charges. She only has appeared for the turnover of the animals.
On Jan. 6, a day after GG was found, Kankakee County Sheriff’s deputies and Animal Control officers had a search warrant and confiscated the Keeshonds (two females and one male) and 11 cats that Stam owned.
The other Keeshonds have been placed in foster homes. The cats were placed in two rescue shelters.
GG was found by Grant Senesac, a farmer who lives next door to Stam.
“Grant is a salt of earth guy,” Benz said. “Grant picked her up and she was grateful to be picked up.”
Senesac and Benz said officials told them Stam was in compliance with Kankakee County regulations for kennel owners.
Both said she did the bare minimum in regards to pen size, housing, and making sure they had food and water.
Benz said GG was sick and could no longer be bred.
A family friend contacted Benz earlier this month after seeing a social media post about GG. Benz contacted Kankakee Animal Control. She took GG home on Feb. 4.
Keeshonds are known for being affectionate.
“She is extremely affectionate. She is learning how to enjoy,” Benz said.
“They are baby steps.”