A woman charged with animal cruelty said she was trying to help the 11 dogs found suffering in the back of her hot van, but could not because of police interference.
Griselda Martinez, who took the stand in her own defence Tuesday, also denied that the dogs were covered in waste and sores when they were found stacked in cages on a 90-degree day in an auto supply shop parking lot in Palatine last summer.
Martinez, 42, formerly of Round Lake, said she was running a business buying and selling dogs. She said she was taking the dogs to her new residence in Streator, Ill., when the van’s air conditioning broke and the dogs began to overheat. She and a friend, Arturo Mendez-Sanchez, had stopped to buy refrigerant for the van when police intervened. An officer testified earlier that the dogs were suffering and were taken inside to cool off.
“The dogs were really very hot, and I didn’t want anything to happen to them,” said Martinez through a Spanish interpreter. “I was going to tell Arturo to take them to a hospital.”
Two of the dogs, Lilly and Atlas, died, and the nine others seized by police were taken to a veterinary clinic in Schaumburg where they were treated for heat-related problems and ear and skin infections, authorities said. A veterinarian testified Monday that the dogs appeared to have been neglected.
Under questioning by defence attorney Lawrence Wade, Martinez denied that and said the dogs were her livelihood
“I started buying dogs to make money for my children,” Martinez said. “I loved the dogs.”
She said police spent 30 minutes questioning her, preventing her from taking the dogs to a clinic.
The nine surviving dogs have been adopted, authorities said.
Martinez is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony. The bench trial is being heard in Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit Court by Judge Marc Martin, who put the trial on hold until Oct. 6, when closing arguments are due to be heard.
Forwarded By Jennifer Rice of Sugarsoil
Published By George Houde