Animal Shelter Owner's Sentence Stands, Other Charges Dismissed
A judge won't reconsider Dawn Hamill's sentence for her conviction connected to a 2011 raid of her Dazzle's Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. Prosecutors also dropped other charges related to the raid.
A Cook County judge denied a motion Monday, Oct. 29 to reconsider the sentence of Dawn Hamill, the owner of local animal rescue who was convicted of eight misdemeanor counts of violation of owner's duties.
Hamill, 43, was charged with those misdemeanor counts, as well as two counts of animal cruelty, in connection to the condition of animals that were found during a Feb. 11, 2011, raid on Dazzle's Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Tinley Park. Eight puppies were reportedly discovered in cold, filthy conditions, leading to her Sept. 14 conviction of the violation of owner's duties charges. The animal cruelty charges she was acquitted on were related to a miniature horse and Himalayan cat found dead on the property.
Hamill's newly attained attorney Lawrence Beaumont filed the motion during an Oct. 18 hearing date, asking for Judge Anna Helen Demacopolous to reconsider her order that Hamill only be allowed to have five personal animals. Beaumont said without the amending of the order, those animals could be adopted out or destroyed by the Animal Welfare League, the agency that removed the animals from Hamill's shelter Oct. 3.
"We're on a timeline here," Beaumont told Demacopolous on Monday. "These are pets, not dogs being housed by the shelter."
At the Oct. 18 hearing, Demacopolous requested the medical records of the removed animals. On Monday, Beaumont also said he had medical records and statements from veterinarians on each of the five animals still in Hamill's care.
Demacopolous, however, was not swayed.
"Having heard [the information], I stand by my decision at sentencing," she said. "If Miss Hamill thinks I abused my discretion … which I take no offense to at all, she is welcome to take it to the appellate court."
Following the judge's instructions from the last hearing, Beaumont also produced an affidavit of assets and liabilities to support Hamill's claims of being indigent.
Demacopolous said Hamill made a "declaration at trial that it shouldn't be held against her that she and husband are successful business owners."
Hamill's affidavit has not been made public, but Demacopolous referred to it by saying, "She gets $4,000 in monthly spousal support."
"She has liabilities," Beaumont said.
"That's not the way it works, counsel," the judge answered. "If she [is living] above her means, that doesn't make her indigent."
Demacopolous denied Beaumont's request for a transcript of Hamill's four-day trial; the 30-day window to appeal the verdict and request a new trial has passed. However, Hamill still has time to appeal Demacopolous' sentence.
Pending cases dismissed
Charges in two other pending cases related to the 2011 raid were dismissed at the hearing. Those charges, also misdemeanors, were labeled in court records as "animal welfare" and "animal control" but did not include details.
An assistant state's attorney who was standing in for Richard Stake Jr. said prosecutors decided to drop those charges after a discussion with a supervisor.
Beaumont had no comment after Monday's hearing. Hamill is scheduled to be back before Demacopolous on Dec. 7.
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