Monday, April 18, 2011

Dale Armon / Penny Horak - Pet Rescue, Bloomingdale, Illinois

Dale Armon Penny Horak

Apr 4, 2011: Pet Rescue turned over to receiver


An animal rescue property from which animals were seized in 2005 will be sold as part of a court-ordered receivership filed by the Illinois Attorney General.

Pet Rescue Inc., owned by Dale Armon, is required to relinquish all assets, including all real estate, because it did not comply with the Charitable Trust Act, a Cook County order for receivership filed in December states..." Link

Apr 2, 2010: Guilty plea in Pet Rescue shelter abuse case

By Christy Gutowski

A noble venture that went bad.

That's how a DuPage County judge described the long saga of a Bloomingdale no-kill animal shelter whose two operators long were accused of hoarding animals and providing improper care.

One of them, Penny Horak, 70, pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge of violating her duties while managing Pet Rescue at 151. N. Bloomingdale Road. She was sentenced to two years' court supervision and barred from ever again running another animal facility in Illinois.

Prosecutor Amanda Meindl told DuPage Judge Ronald Sutter that Horak turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the problems.

"Animals were covered in feces," Meindl said, while showing the judge photos. "There was a strong smell of urine. Mucus from sick animals was caked on the walls. There were mice infestations. These were daily conditions."

Horak apologized and said she tried her best. This marked her first arrest. In exchange for her admission of guilt, prosecutors dropped misdemeanor animal cruelty allegations..." More

By Erin Sauder

After years of controversy surrounding a Bloomingdale pet shelter
accused of animal cruelty, the Bloomingdale Village Board voted
unanimously to revoke its license Monday night.

The move was met by applause by former Pet Rescue volunteers who attended the board meeting.

“I feel good that the animals are safe and get the chance they deserve,” said Kris Nesheim, who long has advocated for the shelter to be shut down. “That’s definitely a good thing.”

Monday night’s vote gives village staff the go-ahead to draft an ordinance to revoke the shelter’s license. It will come back to the Village Board for approval in April.

Before the vote was taken, several members of the audience pleaded with the village to close down the shelter.

Shelter manager Dana Deutsch of Grayslake-based Save-a-Pet said she was horrified by the condition of 11 cats which recently came to her shelter from Bloomingdale’s Pet Rescue.

“Every single one of them was extremely sick,” she said.

Deutsch praised the Village Board for considering the license revocation.

“For what you’re looking to do, I thank you,” she said.

Mary Huspen, a former Pet Rescue worker, said the facility was supposed to be a no-kill shelter.

“Instead it ended up being a facility for two hoarding individuals and a slow-kill shelter,” she said.

Huspen said most of the animals have been removed from the shelter.

“The place is pretty much emptied out. Please don’t let them replenish it again with more animals,” she said.

Pet Rescue Director Penny Horak of Winfield and Shelter President Dale Armon of Berkeley are facing charges of animal cruelty and violation of owners’ duties for allegedly mistreating many cats and dogs while operating the shelter at 151 N. Bloomingdale Road.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture revoked the shelter’s license in December.

Joanne Grossman said she reported Pet Rescue to authorities about 15 years ago because of the deplorable conditions she saw while working there, including animals surrounded in filth and being kept in the attic in the summer despite temperatures above 90.

“This is not a humane shelter, and it’s certainly not saving the animals,” she said.

In January, a DuPage County judge ordered Horak and Armon to begin transferring the nearly 200 animals housed there immediately to other shelters.

For 30 years, former Pet Rescue volunteers have been trying to close the shelter because of what they say are poor conditions for the animals kept there.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also is suing Armon, accusing her of spending at least $70,000 of the nonprofit group’s funds for personal use since 2007.

The Bloomingdale Plan Commission recommended revoking the shelter’s license earlier this month after finding that Pet Rescue had become a safety hazard.

Testimony from the village prosecutor revealed the facility had a rodent infestation and that owners kept dead animals in the refrigerator. Exterior violations included a ceiling that had collapsed because of a leaky roof and leakage in the basement where animals were kept.

Another violation included other animals besides dogs and cats being kept on the premises, including birds and rabbits.

However, Pat Karolasz of Bartlett, a longtime volunteer and supporter of Pet Rescue, read a statement on behalf of Horak’s attorney, Rick Schoenfield, which said the Plan Commission improperly considered evidence.

“On the question of a health and safety violation, not a single professional testified there was a health violation,” she read. “Your police officers have been in the shelter, but none have reported a health or safety problem. Evidence did not establish a violation other than a technical violation of having a few animals that were not dogs or cats.”

She went on to read that “The village should not be acting on matters which the court has yet to decide.”

“Those who are going to be hurt by forcing the shelter out are homeless dogs and cats,” she said..." Link

Jan 21, 2009: Bloomingdale animal shelter ordered to give up animals

Kathleen Strelow

Pet Rescue, an animal shelter in Bloomingdale, has been ordered by a DuPage County judge to immediately begin transferring almost 200 animals to other Illinois shelters. The 149 cats, 29 dogs and small number of doves, guinea pigs and rabbits are to be moved to a list of no-kill shelters only, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Mandy Meindl. These shelters have been approved by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Penny Horak and Dale Armon, Pet Rescue’s operators, have been charged with over a dozen misdemeanor charges of animal neglect, stemming from complaints of crowding and insufficient care of the animals. As a result of this neglect, some of the animals had to be euthanized. Horak and Armon could also have their shelter’s special use permit revoked by the village of Bloomingdale...."

Nov 5, 2009: License revoked from Bloomingdale animal shelter

A long-embattled Bloomingdale animal shelter lost its license Wednesday, effectively shutting down the controversial site at least until it goes through an appeal process.

Pet Rescue Inc. now has 30 days to appeal the administrative law judge's ruling, which said the shelter failed to provide timely records to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

In the past, former clients and volunteers have accused the shelter of hoarding animals and providing improper care.

A complaint filed by the state in April claimed that the shelter did not provide records covering a five-month period, from August 2008 to February.

"It's a good start," said Cherie Travis, an attorney who has represented a group trying to shut down the shelter. "But I think it's taken way too long."

In a report filed as evidence at an August hearing, the department of agriculture said the shelter denied or ignored several requests for records concerning four animals. The shelter took up to nine months to provide records for another 18 animals.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Spokesman Jeff Squibb said the department has worked with local authorities to push the case forward. The revocation means the shelter cannot operate in Bloomingdale based on a zoning ordinance that requires a license.

"Our position is that Pet Rescue is no longer a licensed facility and, therefore, cannot adopt out or transfer its animals," he said..." More

Sept 24, 2009: Madigan goes after pet shelter operator
By Christy Gutowski

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan hopes to accomplish what local, county, and other state officials before her failed to do - shutter a long-embattled Bloomingdale animal shelter for good.

In explosive allegations, Madigan sued Pet Rescue president Dale Armon after accusing her of spending at least $70,000 of the nonprofit group's funds for personal use since 2007.

For example, the lawsuit alleges, Armon paid her Cook County property tax bill for a house in Berkeley in 2008 with shelter assets. Authorities accused her of improperly spending more funds at restaurants, stores and motels in the Hebron, Woodstock and Lake Geneva areas.

Armon, 75, also lives rent free in a Pet Rescue-owned home in Hebron, the suit states.

Madigan asked a Cook County judge to freeze all Pet Rescue assets, order a thorough review of its books, bar property sales, dissolve nonprofit status, transfer assets to a "bona fide existing charity," and close the shelter.

Armon and her board of directors also are accused of allowing donations to be solicited and accepted despite the fact Pet Rescue hasn't been registered to do so since January 2008. The nonprofit group lost its registration due to incomplete 2006 financial records.

Madigan is going after Armon criminally as well by seeking to have her found in indirect civil contempt on suspicion she violated a July 2004 consent decree with the attorney general's office to comply with all accounting and reporting requirements. The consent decree grew out of a 2000 lawsuit.

Armon may face up to six months behind bars and more than $50,000 in civil fines.

At last count, state officials said, Pet Rescue has 150 cats, 50 dogs, several birds, guinea pigs and rabbits in its shelter at 151 N. Bloomingdale Road. It took in about $1.26 million in public donations between 2006 and 2007, according to attorney general officials, who said they've had access to a small portion of financial records since 2007.

The no-kill animal shelter, in operation since 1973, long has been the subject of controversy as former clients, volunteers and workers accused the elderly operators of hoarding animals and providing improper care rather than adopting them out to suitable homes.

Various efforts to revoke the shelter's operating license and special-use permit have repeatedly stalled. One year ago, DuPage prosecutors charged Armon and her director, Penny I. Horak, 70, with misdemeanor animal cruelty and violation of their duties after several cats and dogs became sick, some to the point they had to be euthanized..." More

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