The owner of an animal rescue facility in the southwest suburbs must undergo a psychological evaluation and get rid of all but five animals as part of her sentence Tuesday for a misdemeanor conviction of violating her owner’s duties, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
During a hearing at the Markham courthouse, Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos sentenced Dawn Hamill, 43, to a year of probation, an $8,000 fine and 30 days in the Cook County sheriff’s work alternative program, said Andy Conklin, spokesman with the state’s attorney’s office.
The judge also ruled that for now, Hamill is allowed to have only five personal animals and must undergo a psychological evaluation, Conklin said. A status hearing for Hamill is scheduled for Nov. 8.
A jury found Hamill guilty of eight counts of violation of owner’s duties and acquitted her of two counts of cruel treatment following a four-day trial ending Sept. 14.
The 10 misdemeanor charges were filed after a February 2011 raid of her facility, Dazzle’s Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, in unincorporated Cook County near Tinley Park.
During the raid, investigators with the sheriff’s animal crimes unit found two dead animals and removed more than 100 others from the facility, authorities said. Hamill’s home is also at the three-acre facility in the 5500 block of 175th Street.
The two counts of cruel treatment were in connection with a dead Himalayan cat and dead miniature horse found at the facility, authorities said. The eight counts of violation of owner’s duties related to eight puppies recovered from a detached garage during the raid.
Prosecutors said the dogs were found by investigators in a pen where the floor was covered in feces, soiled linens and insulation that appeared to have been ripped from the walls.
While testifying at her trial, Hamill wept several times. She and her attorney said conditions at her facility became overwhelming after an employee brought more animals to the sanctuary against Hamill’s instruction. Prosecutors, however, said Hamill was aware of the employee’s plan to pick up more animals.
Hamill has continued to operate her rescue facility since the raid and maintained her license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Spokesman Jeff Squibb said Tuesday that because of the convictions, the department plans to consult with the state’s attorney’s office about possible action regarding the license.
Hamill’s attorney could not be reached for comment Tuesday.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times