Tale of dog left in pillowcase was hoax; woman charged

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The story of a puppy being rescued after being tied up in a pillowcase and dumped along a northwest suburban road was truly heart-wrenching, but police now say it was made up.

The male boxer or boxer mix, just weeks old, was found in a pillowcase secured with duct tape along Route 14 in Woodstock, Woodstock police reported Monday.

The dog was taken to an animal rescue center, where it was named Woodstock and was said to be recovering well, according to police and shelter owners.

Police later found the owner of the puppy’s mother, along with nine siblings; and on Thursday, disorderly conduct charges were filed against a woman for filing a false report, according to a new statement from police.

Police were initially told the dog had been left in the 11500 block of U.S. 14 in a pillowcase, cold and starving.

That report came from a student at local community college, who reported that an adjunct instructor brought the puppy to class and said she’d found it while riding her motorcycle to school, police said.

The student then contacted Hoof, Woof and Meow Animal Rescue in Gilberts, which took the puppy; and also called police to report the apparent animal abuse.

Police said publicity from the case led them to the puppy’s original owners, and a consensual search turned up nine other puppies and their mother, police said.

“As the result of information generated by the previously issued press release and the continued attention given by various media outlets and social websites,” police were able to find them at a Woodstock apartment, Woodstock Police Chief Robert Lowen said.

A consensual search turned up nine other puppies and their mother, police said.

“These puppies appeared to be substantially similar, both in appearance and age (4-5 weeks), to the one found last week. It was determined that the puppy located last week was indeed from this litter, born on or about March 23,” according to Lowen.

McHenry County Animal Control took all the puppies until the investigation was ended. The mother was left at the apartment, “as no immediate danger was evident and it was purported to be a therapeutic service dog for one of the members of this household, he said.

The owners told police that Woodstock had been given to Dr. Hope A. Sanchez, a therapist who was working with a family member.

“It was verified that Sanchez was the same adjunct instructor who previously reported to a class of students that a puppy was found in a pillowcase,” Lowen said.

Police spoke with Sanchez on Wednesday, and on Thursday a warrant was issued. She turned herself in later Thursday, police said.

Sanchez, 38, of the 400 block of Woodbine Lane in Fox River Grove, was charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, police said. She was released after paying 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, and is next scheduled to appear in court May 12.

“Due to her living arrangements she was unable to keep the dog,” Lowen said. But, “Instead of returning it the original owners, or taking it to a shelter … she chose this course of action.”

Lowen said detectives “were originally not getting cooperation from the puppies’ owners” and animal control was called. “The puppies’ owners voluntarily gave up the dogs as animal control felt the family was overwhelmed with their care.”

All 10 puppies are “doing well” and have been blended with another litter at Hoof, Woof and Meow Animal Rescue at 129 E. Higgins Rd. in Gilberts, which has started a GoFundMe page to help with their care.

“Mom is a beagle/Boston mix, and dad a beagle/boxer,” the shelter posted on its Facebook page.

They will be available for adoption at the end of May. Anyone interested should call (847) 836-7387.