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Saturday, February 12, 2011— A Tinley Park woman who ran an animal sanctuary has been charged with multiple counts of neglecting and cruelly treating animals after investigators found more than 100 animals on her property – many malnourished or already dead, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Saturday. Dawn Hamill, 41, was charged Friday with eight counts of neglect of owner's duties and two counts of cruel treatment.  The Cook County Sheriff's Police Animal Crimes Unit began an investigation after receiving tips that conditions at Hamill’s Dazzle Painted Pasture Animal Rescue/Sanctuary, on the 5500 block of West 175th Street in Tinley Park, had deteriorated, and that animals were endangered.  After conducting surveillance on the property, officers were able to obtain a search warrant on Friday.

When they entered the business, investigators found dozens of animals living in unhealthy conditions in barns, trailers and sheds that were often unheated and without food or water provisions.  Officers found a deceased three and a half year old miniature horse in a stall in the barn, along with a deceased Himalayan cat.  In addition, police found eight puppies exposed to Parvo, housed in an unheated garage without food or water. Other sanctuary dogs had skin conditions, and one had a problem with its legs; all of the cats had respiratory problems, many had ear and eye infections.  Hamill agreed to euthanize one dog on the property due to age, and another due to aggression issues.        Over the course of nearly five hours, with the assistance of the Animal Welfare League and Cook County Animal Control, police removed 63 dogs, 31 cats, and six rabbits from the sanctuary.  One cat later died.  Police also seized livestock, including 30 horses, ponies, sheep, goats and llamas, many of which are being housed at shelters and stables across the county
Hamill founded Dazzle Painted Pasture Animal Rescue/Sanctuary in 2006.  She procured animals from all over, including online, and kept them in the sanctuary or took them to adoption events.  Investigators learned that, over the years, Hamill became increasingly unable to care for the large quantity of animals she continued to take in.  After her arrest, Hamill thanked investigators for intervening in a situation that had had grown out of control and which led to criminal charges.

All of the domestic animals removed from Hamill’s facility are being treated and groomed at the Animal Welfare League at 10305 Southwest Highway in Chicago Ridge.  To view these animals, please contact the organization at 708-636-8586.
Hamill’s next court date is March 11th in Markham.

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