Pet rescue volunteer Lauren Weber of Bolingbrook said she found out about the pit bull pups last Tuesday. She said the unfortunate pooches were being kept at a home in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, where the owner was threatening to either throw them away, or to use them as bait dogs for fighting.
When the owner refused to turn the dogs over to animal control, Weber did the only thing she could think of: She begged.
"I literally had to beg them to give them to me," Weber said. "I just wanted to get them out of there."
In the end, the 12 puppies — all covered in feces and some with deep, infected bite wounds from older dogs — came home with her. The young dogs showed signs of abuse.
"They would stiffen up and turn their heads away" when being touched, Weber said. "The [owner] was picking them up by their legs to give them to me ... Most of them were very fearful."
Weber said she took the pups home to Bolingbrook, where her mom helped her bathe them. Then, she began trying to place them. Luckily, the pit bull rescues were more than happy to help.
"In six hours, rescues had stepped up for all of them," Weber said. "It was amazing how fast these rescues were able to step in."
Weber said Stephanie Plauch of Players for Pits coordinated the rescues, and now they are working to get the pups adopted through several other pit bull rescues: Pit Crew Illinois, Rescue Warriors and It's a Pittie Rescue, known for its efforts to save the famous "Mama Petunia," whose tragic story touched hearts all over Chicagoland and whose pups live on.
Nearly all of the dogs needed medical care, but one pup, the tiny Tucker, who weighs just barely 10 pounds, is in especially serious condition.
"He's still fighting," Weber said of the pooch, believed to have been bitten by an older dog, whose tooth punctured his jaw, causing an abscess that went untreated.
"Because of the infection, his jaw is literally crumbling," she said.
How you can help, or adopt a pupTucker, along with fellow pups Tanner and Tater, remain at Pit Crew Illinois in Chicago.
Coco — who suffered an open bite wound on her head — is awaiting her forever home, along with fellow pups Piper and Chip, at Players for Pits in Englewood.
Timmy and Pepper are also looking for forever homes. They are at It's a Pittie Rescue in Peotone.
Rescue Warriors in Elgin has already adopted out two pups, Lilo and Lulu. Two more pups, Maui and Stitch, are available for adoption.
Visit the rescues' websites to find out how to make donations or inquire about adopting a pooch: