Judge: Search Warrant That Led to the Hauling Off of 100 Painted Pastures Animals Stands

Dawn Hamill was charged with several dozen counts of animal cruelty and neglect of owner's duties following a raid on her Tinley Park business in February 2011.

A search warrant that led to the raid of a animal shelter was executed with probable cause, ruled a Cook County judge Tuesday after wading through hours of witness testimony.

Dawn Hamill, owner of , was charged with 38 counts  following the Feb. 11 seizure of more than 100 animals from her property.

Her attorney, Steven Decker, contends that statements of animal neglect made in the search warrant were deliberately false. He criticized those statements in court, saying they questionably rely on a county inspector and a third-party source named "J. Doe."

His from Dr. Randall Verink, a veterinarian with ties to Painted Pastures.

But Judge Christopher J. Donnelly deemed Verink’s testimony “irrelevant” because he inspected animals that were not rescued by police and couldn't attest to the condition of those rescued at the time of the raid.

For similar reasons, he refused to hear the statements of a second veterinarian from , where all of the animals have been treated within the last couple years.

Painting a picture of "healthy" and "playful" animals, Hamill testified that she has been in compliance with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She presented the court with her latest license, which was approved after the February raid.

Nevertheless, as prosecutors pointed out—and Hamill verified—the business was cited for unsanitary conditions in both June 2010 and November 2010.

In his closing remarks, assistant state’s attorney Richard Stake, Jr. said a judge had already found the statements made in the search warrant—signed earlier this year—to be credible.

Witnesses who vouched for the warrant Tuesday included Larry Draus, an investigator for the county, and Terry Wenninger, a stable owner. Both said they were present on Hamill's property during the raid.

When referring to Hamill and Kathleen Krainas—who testified that the dog she bought from Painted Pastures a week before the raid needed substantial grooming and 10 months of medical attention, including surgery—Stake asked, “Who has the bias to lie here?”

He said parts of Hamill's testimony, including when she had been visited by the Department of Agriculture, changed from last week to this.

When his turn came, Decker asked why sheriff’s police hadn’t removed the 40 or so dogs inside Hamill’s home if living conditions had been so poor, and why a deputy hadn’t signed a complaint when he visited the property a week before the raid for a routine animal transfer.

Because Hamill keeps a hair salon in the room adjacent to the dog quarters, Decker also questioned how her business could manage with an open stench of urine and feces.

In the end, Donnelly sided with the state, noting plainly that the defense had failed to present evidence showing the county had no justification to search Hamill's property.

Decker said he and his client would consider contesting the judge’s decision.

A final pretrial hearing is slated for Jan. 23, 2012.


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Reese December 28, 2011 at 09:09 PM
How funny when people are caught in illegal activities they are so quick to blame others. Whether it be cruelty to animals or picking up hookers, somehow that is due to "corruption"? I would think its called doing your job Did the authorities just conjure up DEAD animals? Did they fabricate not one but TWO unsanitary condition violations from the Dept of Agriculture? I think not. You are correct, let's see how the trial proceeds. Time for the guilty citizens to start assuming responsibility for the crimes they commit.
Dina December 28, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Mr.La Franco Did you read the entire article?There were witnesses there that WERE NOT from the Police Department or the County.Richard Stake did a Great Job along with the Investigators.This matter has gone on far too long with Dawn Hamill with the abuse and neglect of the Animals.The great thing is they put a stop to what Dawn Hamill was doing.Unfortunetly there were poor animals that did not make it due to her neglect.There are plenty of people that came forward and complained about the animals they adopted from Ms.Hamill.The articles in the Newspapers are FACTS NOT OPINIONS....There has been NO CORRUPTION in this case.I agree with Reese it is time for guilty citizens to start assuming responsibilty for the crimes they commit.
Dennis Banahan December 28, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Ms. Hamill has reportedly had breast augmentation surgery and owns two Escalades, one for each boob, with no visible means of income. Did the people that so generously donated to the welfare of the animals pay for those perks (excuse the pun). Perhaps the IRS should look into Ms. Hamill's income? Mr. La Franco, we've all had American History 101. We know about English tyranny, the Boston Tea Party, etc, but I think you're mixing apples with oranges. Ms. Hamill is not being tried in the court of public opinion, she's being tried in the circuit court. And, as private citizens and not members of the government, we all entitled (by the consitution) to express our opinions. Yes, she is innocent until proven guilty which I believe will not be in the far too distant future. I commend Officer Larry Draus and ASA Shake for so vigorously pursuing justice in this matter. I'm glad somebody cares about the welfare of those poor animals.
Truth Ninja December 29, 2011 at 07:34 PM
'seizure of more than 100 animals from her property'... Am I the only one who secretly and outwardly hopes they were all Dalmation puppies??!! That would be a truly adorable twist to this otherwise terrible story!
Truth Ninja December 30, 2011 at 09:38 PM


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