Illegal menagerie included 12 raccoons, 7 opossums, skunk and more
SPRINGFIELD – A yearlong investigation by the Illinois Conservation Police on Tuesday culminated in a search warrant and the discovery of numerous illegally obtained wild animals – alive and dead – inside a DeKalb County residence.
No arrests were made immediately, but the investigation is ongoing.
Conservation police, with assistance from DeKalb County Animal Control, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Sandwich Police Department, served a search warrant about 10 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 1000 block of Spruce Street in Sandwich.
A 33-year-old woman who lives in the house allegedly was a licensed Illinois wildlife rehabilitator, but police determined her license was fraudulently obtained.
Inside the home, police discovered caged snakes in the basement and domestic rabbits in the backyard – none of which had water available. Officers provided water to the animals immediately. Three dead snakes were found in cages.
In addition, police found 12 raccoons, seven opossums, two squirrels, two turtles, one chipmunk and one skunk inside the residence. All were removed and taken to a properly licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Boxes of wildlife parts were also found inside the residence. Police said the woman does not possess an Illinois hunting or fishing license and that she was selling wildlife parts online.
Police contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services because a child lives in the home and the conditions were considered unhealthy.