Judge Won't Change Shelter Owner's Sentence Without Animals' Medical Records

The new attorney for Dawn Hamill, owner of Dazzle's Painted Pastures Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, wants the judge to reconsider her order to allow the return of animals taken from Hamill's shelter.

A Cook County judge refused Thursday to alter an order forcing animal shelter owner Dawn Hamill to give up all but five of her personal animals. The order was part of her sentence after she was convicted in September on eight misdemeanor counts of violations of owner's duties.

Hamill, 43, was charged with those eight misdemeanor counts, as well as two counts of animal cruelty, in connection to the condition of animals that were found during a 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.

READ: Hamill Headed Back to Court With New Attorney

Lawrence Beaumont, Hamill's new attorney, went to court Thursday, Oct. 18, to ask Judge Anna Helen Demacopolous if the she would reconsider Hamill's sentence and allow for the return of five dogs and five horses taken from her property before the animals are potentially adopted out by the Animal Welfare League. At the very least, Beaumont asked the judge to halt any adoptions by the agency.

An alternate prosecutor appeared for the state; Assistant State's Attorney Richard Stake Jr. was out of town and his co-counsel, ASA Sarah Naughton, is still on administrative leave, pending misdemeanor battery and criminal trespassing charges in an unrelated case.

Demacopolous told Beaumont that she needed to see medical records for all of the animals Hamill was asking for in order to ensure those animals were in good condition when they were taken from the property. The judge said she also has no jurisdiction over what the Animal Welfare League does with the animals.

"I only have jurisdiction over Miss Hamill. And what she can do," Demacopolous said.

A spokeswoman for the Animal Welfare League said she did not know what the agency was planning to do in light of Hamill's court request. Nor did she know if any of the animals the league recovered from Hamill's shelter had already been adopted.

READ: Agency Removes Animals From Painted Pastures

As Demacopolous asked Beaumont which animals Hamill was asking for, Hamill interjected, "May I say something?"

"No," Demacopolous said, curtly.

It was one of several tense moments during the roughly 20-minute hearing in Demacopolous' Markham courtroom.

The judge would not yield on allowing Hamill to have more animals, continuing to designate her as an animal hoarder. At sentencing, Demacopolous ordered that the return of Hamill's animals would depend on the results of a psychiatric evaluation.

That evaluation was submitted to the judge, prosecutors and Hamill, and while the records are sealed by law, they were discussed in open court Thursday.

"She's not a compulsive animal hoarder; she doesn't have obsessive compulsive disorder," Beaumont said, gesturing toward a file folder.

"Counsel, do you really want to make [the psychiatric evaluation] of record?" Demacopolous asked with a slight nod toward the gallery. "I have found that she is an animal hoarder by statute. I have a deep concern that she does not appreciate the severity of keeping that many animals alone."


Demacopolous also questioned Hamill's finances and appeared incredulous when Beaumont said Hamill is indigent.

"She owns four-and-half acres of property," the judge said. "She's getting in excess of $17,000 a month in donations and diamonds embedded in her chest. She has three Hummers and you're calling her indigent?"

Beaumont said the property is in foreclosure and added, "She doesn't have those vehicles you're talking about."

"File an affidavit," Demacopolous responded.

What's Next

Beaumont also filed his appearance in two other pending cases against Hamill, stemming from the 2011 raid. Those cases, also misdemeanors, include charges labeled in court records as "animal welfare" and "animal control" but do not include details. Prosecutors might be close to setting a trial date in those cases.

Demacopolous said Hamill's current attorney, Purav Bhatt, must appear to either withdraw from the case or stay on as additional counsel.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29, when Beaumont will argue his motion to have Hamill's sentence reconsidered.

Go to Our Section on Dawn Hamill for Complete Coverage of the Case.


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LISA HINES October 19, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Laura Schute October 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Upon following this story on the Patch (and they have done an excellent job of reporting) it amazes me that such people as Marylou insist on defending her without knowing facts. First off, Marylou posted on a different thread of this story that the Hummers were donated. Do some research Marylou and stop just listening to what your friend tells you. On the Cook County court docket it shows that Hamill is back in court on the 23rd in Bridgeview being sued by the person who co-signed for those gas guzzlers. If they were in fact donated, why was a co-signer needed? As for your comment of only certain animals being photographed, ALL animals removed that day were photographed and documented. Stated was that her husband had a good job and she had a part time income, then why was it that once the raid happened her beloved Hummers went into repossession and the property into foreclosure if they were paying for those items with their "earned" monies? Would it be because donations dried up?I If she is (indigent) who is paying for her counsel? Who will buy hay for those five horses which is at an astronomical price at this time. She was unable to provide vet records during the trial. She certainly can't have Dr. Verink write up any vet reports as he already stated on the stand that he hadn't seen the horses in over a year. The same vet who couldn't tell if the cat was alive or dead from the photo. A pre-schooler could have figured out DEAD. Good luck Mr. Beaumont.
Laura Schute October 19, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Also, where are the horses?? Where are the wolves?? Where are the llama's? Why is she not held responsible to state where these animals are located now? If the wolves were truly moved to a sanctuary then the sanctuary name should be revealed. Why was she not charged for having wildlife without a proper license? AWL stated those wolves went to a sanctuary last February but yet when they went to remove the animals this final time, they were still there. Why is nothing enforced and followed up on? "She's not a compulsive animal hoarder; she doesn't have obsessive compulsive disorder," Beaumont said, gesturing toward a file folder. So you say Beaumont but I would bet some diamond studs that she was found to be a narcissist.
Morgan Jones October 20, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I do not believe there are any vet records. Of course there will be a hearing blaming the alleged missing vet records on Kelly or Draus. STOP THE MADNESS!! This is a big fat waste of tax dollars. As a spectator, the this case has been educational as well as comical...but mostly comical. I'm looking forward to getting my laugh on as the saga of dazzling dawn continues...
horselover October 23, 2012 at 04:30 PM
We never got the vet records for the horse we adopted either, nor do we know where he came from, she doesn't keep records on anything we volunteered there for awhile until we saw what she was really about, then we started reporting her finally she is getting what she deserves.


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