banditArctic Fox, Coyotes Found Caged in Shopping Carts - courtesy of NBC

An Arctic fox, two coyotes and 27 dogs were found at an illegal animal breeding operation in Crestwood, according to county officials.

The animals were being kept in inhumane conditions at an automotive business, with many of them caged in shopping carts with plywood over the top. The garage and junkyard area where the animals were kept were a mess of feces, urine and filthy water.

Take a look at the deplorable conditions the animals were living in at a Crestwood automotive shop. (Published Tuesday, July 28, 2009)

Police found the animals during a sting, when Danny Vithoulkas offered to sell undercover officers two 7-week-old German shepherd puppies, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office. It's illegal to sell a dog younger than 8 weeks old.
Vithoulkas, 44, was arrested and charged with nearly a dozen counts of animal-related crimes, including possession of dangerous animals, operating as a dog dealer without a license, and cruel treatment to animals.

There were 11 German shepherd puppies, 13 adult German shepherds, a pit bull puppy, an adult pit bull, and a Rottweiler mix rescued from the operation.
The Arctic fox and coyotes will be taken to a wildlife refuge after evaluation, while the dogs will be put up for adoption.

Published at 2:42 AM CDT on Jul 14, 2009 | Updated at 1:44 PM CDT on Jul 30, 2009

PLEASE NOTE:  The fox, now named Bandit, is not an arctic fox, but a marble fox and has been residing happily with AFA since 2009. The coyotes were rehabbed by Wildlife Director Vicki Weiland and released.