Illinois campers spring 8 puppies, 3-legged cat from hot van

A group of friends camping in southern Illinois over Memorial Day weekend ended up spending their trip with 8 puppies, their mother and a 3-legged cat after springing them from a hot van. Now, all 11 animals have been brought to a shelter to find their forever homes.

Nick Achtien was camping in Jackson Falls at Shawnee National Forest and wrote in a Facebook post that the group heard two dogs bark all night and the next day, discovered they had been abandoned in a hot van. While investigating, someone in his group reached through the cracked window, unlocked the door and discovered a 3-legged cat, 8 puppies and the mother.

The group called sheriff's officials and cared for the animals all weekend. Word about their triumphant rescue traveled through the campsite, and some campers dropped off food for the animals. They have since been brought to Sunrise Center Animal Rescue and ready to find their permanent homes.

Story time: Camping in Southern Illinois. Nighttime rolls around and two dogs are barking in a van... ALL night long. The next day comes around and the owners walk by, leaving the dogs in the car again for the day. 3 hours later, its 82 degrees and the sun is *blazing* down on the van with the window cracked open. Someone in our group reaches down the window and unlocks the door, letting out the two dogs. What we find inside was a total of 11 animals LIVING in this van. There was a three legged cat, 8 puppies, the mom dog, and another grown dog. We took ownership and charge. The sheriff was called, and shortly after he arrive the gypsies who lived in the van show up. The cop said he couldn't all the animals because they weren't all in bad shape -- including the puppies. We offered up $100 for the litter, and the Gypsy says she doesn't want the money, and we can just have the pups and the mom. We camp with these barrels of fun for the weekend. Word about our campsite spreads among the entire campground and people approach us and commend us for what we do, and even some are dropping off dog food for the pups! As I write this, I have the biggest grin on my face knowing that we saved 11 animals that day. By the time we got home, we found three homes for three pups, and a shelter on an amazing farm for the mom and the rest of them.If anyone would like to donate to the shelter where the mom and the little guys went to, it would be so appreciated!

Kudos to Achtien, Vanessa Perez, Natalie Skrobis, Don Hudson, Kelly Caird, Meagan Reilly, Katherine Anderson, Alex Collins, Henry Fineberg, Elizabeth Gritter, Alexander Allen, Shuoyuan He, Stuart Graham, Kris Baker, Jeramie Clasussen, Rachel Atlas and Brianna Genevieve.

To donate to the shelter, visit

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