1/17/05 (excerpts from the Baxter Bulletin article)
William and Tammy Hanson were found guilty on 20 out of 28 counts of cruelty to animals Monday in Baxter County District Court. The sentencing phase of the trial is set for 11 a.m. Feb. 23.
As the trial ended, Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery arrested Tammy Hanson on an outstanding felony warrant from Lawrence County, Mo., for stealing animals and six outstanding misdemeanor warrants from Baxter County District Court ranging from theft of property to tampering with evidence to theft of mislaid property. Applause broke out from those still present in the courtroom as Montgomery read Hanson the warrants and placed her in handcuffs. Tammy Hanson, 38, was taken immediately to the Baxter County Detention Center.
"The bond on the six misdemeanor warrants, the current bond she is under will go ahead and take care of those six; and the felony warrant that was just served, she will have to deal with Lawrence County as far as being able to make bond on that," Montgomery said. Both Hansons had been free on $1,000 bond each had posted following their Oct. 21 arrest on the 28 counts of animal cruelty. William Hanson, 41, remains free on bond pending sentencing. Hanson attorney Paul Ford indicated the Hansons plan to appeal their convictions.
Prosecutor Ron Kincade said he will request the maximum sentence allowed by law, which would be one year in jail. There was some confusion as to how much restitution and fines could be ordered in the misdemeanor convictions which will be discussed during the sentencing phase.
Judge Van Gearhart, in finding the couple guilty, said there was overwhelming evidence the Hansons were guilty. As part of his ruling, he ordered that the Hansons' not own any pets. Asked by Ford if that meant anywhere, Gearhart replied "anywhere in the world," as the crowd laughed and applauded. Gearhart threw out eight counts of cruelty to animals because there were no photographs submitted as evidence on those counts.
Local veterinarian James Snodgrass stated in court that he had been to many similar situations, but this was the worst he had ever seen after he entered the compound when the warrant was served. "My initial assessment was the conditions were unspeakable," Snodgrass said. "Some dogs needed, not immediate, but needed medical attention. The overall sanitary conditions were deplorable. There were open bags of dog food which was rained on and moldy." Snodgrass described the scene as something beyond what he had ever seen and the worst he had ever seen in his 35 years of being a veterinarian.
Tammy Hawley of the Humane Society of the United States, who served as incident commander at the compound after it was seized by the Baxter County Sheriff, told Gearhart she had an average of 38 volunteers there each day to help with the care and feeding of the dogs. She arrived at the compound on Oct. 24 and was there for two months. She testified in court about some of the animals that were found at EDNAH. One dog, Della, had ear trouble and a tumor between her toes, as well as overgrown toenails which were imbedded in her paws. There were other dogs that had ingrown toenails; some had mange; others had matted fur; and one, Grandpa, had stones which made it difficult for him to urinate.
Max, a three-legged dog, had maggots in his ears. Another dog, Said, had a torn tendon which caused him pain when he tried to walk or run. Brandon, another dog, had his left eye out of the socket, which eventually was removed. All eventually were treated. One dog, which was found with a broken back, was taken to a local veterinarian and was euthanized.
Investigator Randy Murray described to the court the condition of the place when he arrived. He and Deputy Benny Magness had flown over the compound while on a marijuana eradication project, and Murray observed a large number of dogs running loose, others in travel cages, and some that remained lying on the ground as the helicopter flew over. There was trash and debris all around the property, as well as a standing pool of stagnant water.
As Gearhart found the Hansons guilty, the courtroom, which had been packed, broke out in applause.
"I am relieved that the court came to the conclusion that it did," Deputy Prosecutor Emily Reed said after the trial. "I think it was a fair decision based on the evidence that was presented and the testimony.
"I thank Emily for taking care of this," Kincade said. "This is in her jurisdiction, and she handled it just like she does everything and did a great job. We are relieved that we have this part behind us. We are not naive — I am sure there is going to be an appeal, and we have all those things to deal with in circuit court, and we are prepared to do that."
Ford said he expected it. "I understand and expected a ruling such as this and look forward on behalf of my clients to pursue an appeal in circuit court,"
"We are pleased with the verdict and hope what this does is get her some counseling and let her lead a better life," Hawley said. "I know the animals are leading a better life. Also, to bring some attention to future legislative efforts so that people can maybe make some laws on the books that will make it stronger and easier for this county to deal with this type of situation. Hopefully they won't ever have to; but in the event that they do, that the law will be there to support it."
Bulletin Photo by Kevin Pieper
|Dec. 22, 2005
20 EDNAH dogs are headed back to Arkansas
Twenty missing dogs from Gamaliel animal operation EDNAH (Every Dog Needs A Home) are on their way back to Arkansas after being found on a farm in Greene County, Mo.
Baxter County authorities say EDNAH co-owner Tammy Hanson, who is charged with 28 counts of animal cruelty, stole 20 dogs from the Gamaliel site after the property was taken over by the sheriff's office and transported them to a Greene County farm.
Hanson was denied an injunction Thursday against Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt and the Southwest Missouri Humane Society after she said they unlawfully seized the dogs Nov. 29. Hanson alleged Merritt's search warrant lacked specific descriptions of the dogs and that deputies took more animals than were in the warrant.
Greene County Circuit Judge Miles Sweeney said he had reservations about the specificity of the search warrant, but ruled Hanson had no right to challenge it. He dismissed the suit and lifted an earlier restraining order, allowing the dogs to be transported back to Arkansas.
"The Humane Society is on their way to get them right now," Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said Thursday evening. "I don't know if they will bring them back to their facility, but they will bring them back to shelters."
The Baxter County Sheriff's Office discovered approximately 477 dogs living in what they deemed deplorable conditions at EDNAH in October. Several dogs were in small cages with feces, urine and trash. A half-dozen dogs were found dead.
Shortly after, volunteers and deputies began noticing missing animals, Montgomery testified in court Thursday. Montgomery said he isn't sure how Hanson was able to get the dogs off the EDNAH grounds. "It's difficult to guard the property with one officer," he said.
Investigators believed the missing dogs were with Kansas animal shelter owner Sheila Jones, but when they arrived Jones said the dogs and William and Tammy Hanson already had left. She also said they had taken three of her dogs with them.
"We know she (Tammy Hanson) went to Paola, Kan., and we know she had the dogs in her SUV," Montgomery said. "She stayed there for a few days and then went to Helen Wheeler's farm."
Investigators eventually found the dogs on the property of Helen Wheeler, who owns a rescue operation. She said in court the dogs had been dropped off at her farm. She initially refused to let Greene County authorities search the property, but they later returned with a search warrant.
Montgomery said Wheeler is a friend of Hanson. "We had a list of all the (missing) dogs and found every one of them in Springfield (Mo.)," he said.
Hanson did not testify in Thursday's hearing.
Hanson and her husband, William, who both have pleaded not guilty to the animal cruelty charges, face trial in Baxter County Jan. 16, 2006.
(The Springfield, Mo., News-Leader contributed to this report.)
Attempt to reclaim dogs denied
Tammy Hanson, co-owner of the Gamaliel, Ark., animal rescue operation Every Dog Needs a Home, had requested an injunction against Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt and the Southwest Missouri Humane Society, which has cared for the animals since they were seized by sheriff's deputies. In her petition, Hanson alleged the sheriff's search warrant lacked specific descriptions of the animals to be taken and that deputies erred by seizing more dogs than were originally mentioned in the warrant. More than 100 of the animals had been rescued from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
Despite that relatively narrow focus, a larger controversy surrounding Hanson and the dogs at times dominated Thursday's proceedings. In October, Sheriff's deputies in Baxter County, Ark., raided the EDNAH operation after complaints of animals being kept in squalid conditions. While serving a search warrant, they found at least 477 dogs on the two-acre lot. The dogs were in conditions Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery described as deplorable.
Hanson and her husband, William, are charged with more than two dozen counts of animal cruelty and are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 16. As sheriff, Montgomery was granted possession of the animals, and volunteers from the North Central Arkansas Humane Society and Humane Society of the United States began caring for and cataloging them. Within days of the raid, however, volunteers and deputies began complaining of missing animals, Montgomery testified Thursday. Investigators were eventually tipped off to another rescue operation in Paola, Kan., where several of the missing dogs might have been taken. When Baxter County officials traveled to the Kansas sanctuary, owner Sheila Jones told them the EDNAH dogs — and the Hansons — had already left, along with three dogs that Jones said belonged to her.
On Nov. 29 the trail led to the Greene County farm of Helen Wheeler, who said in court that the dogs had been dropped off there days earlier, presumably by the Hansons. Wheeler, who runs her own state-licensed rescue operation, first refused to let Greene County deputies search the property, but relented when they returned with a search warrant. With the help of Baxter County deputies and Humane Society volunteer Sandy Wheeler — no relation to Helen Wheeler — 20 dogs thought to have been part of the earlier EDNAH seizure were located, as well as the three dogs reported stolen in Kansas. Lance Weber, Hanson's Missouri attorney, argued Thursday that the warrant obtained by Greene County deputies was unconstitutionally vague because it contained a specific description of only one dog — a three-legged black labrador-mix deputies spotted on the property during their first visit. Three more of the 18 animals mentioned in the warrant were identified only as having been implanted with microchip identification devices by Humane Society workers, he said.
Weber also argued deputies went beyond the bounds of the warrant by seizing more dogs than were noted in the warrant.
John Housley, the assistant Greene County prosecuting attorney arguing the county's case, countered that all the animals — except the three reported stolen in Kansas — were pictured in photographs taken after the EDNAH seizure and were identified as such by Sandy Wheeler and Baxter County deputies during the Greene County search. Housley also questioned whether Hanson — who was not named in the Greene County warrant — had the legal right to challenge the warrant. He also said Hanson, who did not testify, failed to adequately establish proof of ownership of the dogs.
Greene County Circuit Judge Miles Sweeney said he had "reservations" about the search warrant's specificity, but ruled Hanson had no standing to challenge it. Sweeney dismissed the suit and lifted an earlier restraining order, clearing the way for Baxter County officials to transport the dogs back to Arkansas.
"We're gonna start removing them this evening," Montgomery said Thursday, noting that the move would likely take a few days. The three dogs belonging to Jones have already been returned to Kansas, he said.
In Arkansas, the Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home reported earlier this month that all but a handful of the dogs at the EDNAH sanctuary had been adopted or sent to other facilities by the Humane Society of the United States.
The Hansons, whose trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 16, earlier pleaded not guilty to the animal cruelty charges. Each charge, a Class A misdemeanor, is punishable upon conviction by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Officers seize 120 pets from Kansas, Missouri
Approximately 100 cats and dogs have been removed from a Kansas animal shelter where 15 dogs from Gamaliel animal sanctuary EDNAH (Every Dog Needs A Home) were sent last week. Another 20 dogs identified as coming from EDNAH and three other dogs reported stolen in Kansas were seized in Greene County, Mo., according to the Baxter County Sheriff's Office. EDNAH owner Tammy Hanson — who, together with husband William, has been charged with animal cruelty — faces additional charges of tampering with evidence in the Greene County case.
Kansas City, Mo., television station KMBC reported that animal control officers removed 100 of approximately 200 animals Wednesday from Sheila Jones' Paola, Kans., shelter — the Humane Society of Miami County in Kansas. It is not known if any of the 15 EDNAH dogs were seized by Kansas authorities. A KMBC reporter said most of the animals appeared to be healthy, but some dead cats were found on the property. A court order Nov. 21 from Baxter County District Judge Van Gearhart authorized Jones to take 37 dogs from EDNAH, which she claimed had come from her shelter originally.
Tammy Hawley with the Humane Society of the United States said after Jones left with the dogs last week, she returned 22 of them. She said Jones cited feeling threatened by EDNAH owners William and Tammy Hanson as the reason for giving the dogs back. Hawley said Jones did leave for Kansas with 15 dogs from EDNAH. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery appointed the HSUS to coordinate placement of the dogs. Hawley said she did not inspect Jones' property, but did request records that showed Jones failed several inspections. She said she was concerned about letting Jones take the dogs, but the court order forced her to release them. "I had spoken with her (Jones), and she said she had intentions to partner with other agencies to reduce the number of animals she had," Hawley said.
Baxter County Prosecutor Ron Kincade said Gearhart already had issued his order before HSUS representatives said they were not comfortable giving the dogs to Jones. "It was too late to go back and redo the order," he said. Kincade said no efforts would be made by the county to get the 15 dogs back from Kansas. Kansas authorities are reviewing the case to decide if animal cruelty charges will be filed against Jones. A message left for Jones was not returned by press time Thursday.
In the Greene County incident, Baxter County Sheriff's Investigator Brad Lewis reported he received information Tuesday that 17 dogs from EDNAH were at a residence owned by Helen Wheeler in Greene County, Mo. The BCSO asked the Greene County Sheriff's Department to check the residence. Greene County authorities notified the BCSO a three-legged black dog, matching the description of one of the missing canines, was seen at the residence. Greene County investigators went to the residence and weren't allowed to search the residence and kennels.
According to Lewis, he, Lt. Terry Johnson and Sandy Wheeler with the Humane Society left Mountain Home to meet with Greene County investigators and got a search warrant for the residence. They found 20 dogs identified as coming from EDNAH and three reported stolen in Kansas, Lewis stated. All 23 dogs were seized and taken by the Humane Society of Missouri. Helen Wheeler, owner of the residence, stated Tammy Hanson had dropped the dogs off, according to Lewis.
In October, Baxter County authorities discovered approximately 477 dogs living in what they called deplorable conditions at EDNAH. Hawley said six dogs remained at the now-defunct Gamaliel shelter Thursday. Four are to be adopted by volunteers who have been working on the property. Two other dogs will be placed with a local agency.
Bulletin Staff Writer Armando Rios contributed to this report.
Last dogs leaving EDNAH
GAMALIEL — Sandi Maglia and Amy Pierre watch nervously, like first-time mothers, as their new friend Lilly takes her place alongside so many others.
"It's OK," Maglia softly whispers, folding Lilly's pink blanket. "You're gonna be OK." "Yeah, you'll be just fine," said Pierre, patting Lilly on the back one final time. Then the two women burst into tears. Maglia and Pierre are volunteers working with the Humane Society of the United States to relocate 477 dogs from EDNAH (Every Dog Needs A Home) in Gamaliel. Lilly is one of those dogs.
Approximately 200 dogs left the grounds Tuesday with the Humane Society of Missouri out of St. Louis and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals out of Texas. The dogs are bound for shelters across the country. Curt Ransom with HSUS said the last few dogs at EDNAH are scheduled to be relocated today.
Debbie Hill, director of rescue investigations with the Humane Society of Missouri, said the dogs will be checked out by veterinarians and behaviorists after they arrive in St. Louis. "Most of the dogs are social," she said. "I think there is a good chance for adoptions." Hill said the St. Louis facility can hold between 400 and 500 dogs. The organization had three trailers at the site Tuesday to haul approximately 150 dogs to different animal shelters in Missouri, including its own facility.
Loading the dogs into the trailers is a difficult task for Maglia of Rolla, Mo. "I've only been here a day, but I'm so attached," she said, beginning to cry. "There are needy dogs that are so scared and they need reassurance. You get attached real easily." Maglia wipes the tears from her eyes as she watches a volunteer place Lilly into a cage for her trip. The dog is scared — shuddering and holding her head down. "It helps knowing they are going to a good place," she said. "The shelter in St. Louis is awesome. It's a great place."
The day is also hard for Pierre, who traveled on her vacation to Arkansas from Oakland, Calif., to help care for the dogs. She is a member of rescue organization United Animal Nations' division, EARS (Emergency Animal Rescue Service). "This is better than a week in Mexico," she said. "I'd rather spend my vacation doing this." Maglia agrees some things are more important than a vacation. "Animals don't have choices, but we do," she said. "We choose to be here."
The women pause to look back at the trailer as Lilly settles in for the long ride north. They know they have done everything in their power to make the dogs' lives better but wish they could do more. "Fold the blanket like this and just sit her on top of it, so it kind of goes around her," Pierre said to a woman filling out Lilly's paperwork. "She likes that." The two women say their goodbyes to their friend and head back to the kennels to get another dog ready for transport. And the tears come again.
Judge denies Hansons' petition
BY JULIE STEWART -- SPECIAL TO THE
DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE -- MOUNTAIN HOME —
Baxter County District Judge Van Gearhart's ruling followed a two hour hearing in what he termed, "one of the toughest cases I've seen."
The court order takes effect Nov. 29, although defense lawyer Paul N. Ford of Jonesboro said the Hansons planned to challenge the decision in Baxter County Circuit Court.
The couple are charged with cruelty to animals accused of keeping about 470 dogs in what authorities described as deplorable conditions at their animal sanctuary in northeastern Baxter County.
Cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each count. The state recently amended the charges to 28 counts against each defendant. The Hansons' trial is set for Jan. 16 in Gearhart's court.
In his order Monday, the judge instructed authorities responsible for placing the dogs to give first priority to previous owners, if they can be identified. He said the Hansons could play a role in placement by providing documents showing ownership.
The other dogs are to be sent to animal shelters around the country that have been approved by the Humane Society of the United States. Gearhart agreed to a defense request that the dogs be sent to only "no-kill" shelters, facilities that do not euthanize animals.
Gearhart said no evidence was presented Monday to indicate that the Hansons "have even an inkling of the ability to take on the care and protection of these animals."
His ruling, the judge said, did not mean that he will find the Hansons guilty at trial, but only that they were unable to care for large numbers of dogs on their property.
Last month, Gearhart issued an order giving the sheriff's office custody of the dogs. He gave both sides until Nov. 17 to determine the fate of the animals. The judge also ordered then that more than 100 dogs be released to specific agencies and individuals, including 61 pit bulls and pit bull mixes that had been sent to the Hansons from the New Orleans area by an animal rescue group after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Authorities believe up to half of the dogs on the Hanson property were orphaned or separated from their owners either during or after the hurricane.
Gearhart expressed displeasure Monday that the state had failed to release several animals to two individuals named in his previous order. He said Monday's ruling would again instruct the state to release the animals to those individuals.
A Humane Society of the United States official overseeing the dogs' care on behalf of the sheriff's office testified that the organization had lined up qualified shelters to take the remaining dogs. Tammy Hawley, program coordinator for the organization's southwest regional office, also testified that its standards dictate that at least 25 people per day were needed to care for the remaining dogs. The organization has spent tens of thousands of dollars caring for the dogs, she said.
Dr. James Snodgrass, a Mountain Home veterinarian, testified that conditions at the Hanson property were deplorable. Snodgrass, who also is president of the Humane Society of Baxter County, said he found dogs suffering from a wide range of ailments from mange to cuts to infections.
He said 10 dogs, in particular, were standing in 2 inches of their own waste in small to medium sized portable animal carriers. Snodgrass said he bought the dogs larger cages and, when he put the dogs in them, they lay down and began licking their injured feet.
"Of all the things I saw there, this was probably the most atrocious, the most sickening," he said.
Thanksgiving goes to the dogs
GAMALIEL — Gerry Rasmussen plans on spending part of her Thanksgiving Day scooping dog poop, just as she has for three weeks now. The Mountain Home resident will enjoy the holiday with her family and then head to Gamaliel to spend some quality time with her new family — some with two legs, others with four.
Rasmussen and a host of others have volunteered countless hours to care for 477 dogs at Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH), a Gamaliel animal organization where Baxter County authorities found the dogs living in deplorable conditions.
The EDNAH grounds are eerily quiet now. Gone is the barking, howling, growling and whimpering. The dogs seem to know and trust each volunteer. Rasmussen said the dogs only bark now in the mornings when volunteers first begin arriving and in the evenings when they leave. "I like to think they are barking because they miss us," she said with a laugh.
Rasmussen said she has been volunteering at the EDNAH grounds since the first week the dogs were discovered. She says the change is remarkable. "It is so fun to watch the dogs get to be dogs," she said. "They like to play and they are coming out of their shells. They play with toys. They can be dogs again."
Kim Mayfield, national director of United Animal Nation, said many volunteers have used vacations from work to care for the dogs as well as paying for their own lodging, transportation and other expenses. "They take care of, love, scoop poop and socialize these animals," she said. "These volunteers are doing everything to make the dogs' time here better."
Mayfield, who also will spend Thanksgiving at EDNAH, said donations have been coming in from across the nation, and the volunteers have all they need to work with. "The community has been fantastic," she said. "It is so great to be able to come into a community like this that is so supportive."
More than 100 dogs already have been taken to shelters (incorrect) around the country. Baxter County District Judge Van Gearhart ordered Monday that the remaining dogs could also be placed in reputable facilities. Mayfield said the Humane Society of the United States is working on placing the remaining dogs in shelters and securing vehicles to transport them. Once every dog has left EDNAH, so will the volunteers.
Rasmussen said it will be hard to watch the dogs be placed on trucks for other destinations. "You get possessive," she said. "We've all worked so hard, and it's going to be difficult to let go. I'm sure I will cry." It will be a bittersweet moment, but Rasmussen said she will remember her times with the dogs fondly. "I've met a lot of incredible people," she said. "I've also met a lot of incredible animals."
Dog sanctuary: Owners slated to appear in court
The owners of Gamaliel sanctuary Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) charged with animal cruelty are scheduled to appear in Baxter County District Court Monday.
A hearing is set for 11 a.m. Monday on the pending animal cruelty charge against Tammy and William Hanson. Baxter County authorities discovered approximately 477 dogs at EDNAH in October.
District Judge Van Gearhart ordered last month that 104 dogs could be removed from the property. The dogs had been brought to EDNAH from animal rescue organizations after Hurricane Katrina. Those 104 dogs have been taken to shelters and have been photographed and posted on Petfinder.com or Petharbor.com in an attempt to locate their owners.
The court order left the sheriff's office in control of the compound, with the U.S. Humane Society providing interim care for the animals under the sheriff's office authority.
Prosecutor Ron Kincade said his office would ask the court Monday to intervene with an order allowing the county to place the remaining dogs from Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) in approved facilities.
"We are trying to have a hearing on dog placement," Kincade said. "We have not been able to agree (with the Hansons) and will be asking the court to intervene with an order."
He estimated there are approximately 370 dogs still remaining at Tammy Hanson's property.
Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said he had hoped to be able to remove the dogs from the property, but negotiations have not been fruitful.
"As far as removing the other dogs, we are at a standstill," he said.
Kincade said there are a number of organizations approved by the U.S. Humane Society that are willing to take dogs. He said they are legitimate and valid, but both parties have not been able to agree on terms.
"We have not been able to get agreements on placement of dogs," Kincade said. "We hope to get an order allowing us to place dogs and allow us to do something with them Monday."
The Hansons pleaded not guilty to the animal cruelty charges last month and a trial date was set for Jan. 16, 2006.
scroll down for sequencial reports.
Gruesome scene inside what is supposed to be a sanctuary for animals:
Authorities discover 400-500 dogs living in cramped, filthy conditions
firstname.lastname@example.org GAMALIEL — The stench is almost unbearable; so are the flies. Trash is strewn about and the water is green. Dogs are stuffed into small cages, sitting in their own feces and urine and barking feverishly. One dog limps along a pathway, one of its front legs misshapen and obviously broken. Other dogs appear sickly, only slightly raising an ear when someone approaches.
Barks, howls and whimpers echo like a canine orchestra of 500 puppies, pit bulls, labs and a variety of other breeds found at a Gamaliel animal shelter Friday evening.
It is a scene the Baxter County Sheriff's Office discovered while serving a search warrant at Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.
William Hanson, 41 and wife Tammy, 38, were taken into custody for animal cruelty Friday night after authorities discovered an estimated 400 to 500 dogs, several of them rescued from Hurricane Katrina. The Hansons were released late Friday on $1,000 bond each.
To many people the scene is overwhelming.
Rows of pet carriers and small cages line a dirt road leading into the sanctuary. Steel pieces to make pens are stacked neatly near the entrance of the property but have not been assembled.
Some dogs peer through windows, partly rolled down, of an SUV parked on the premises. Officers later freed those dogs from the vehicle and built a makeshift pen to house them.
Most dogs appear to be well-fed, but some are thin and in need of medical care.
Sheriff John Montgomery estimated there are 75 dogs running loose within the property. Unrestrained dogs have been drinking out of one plastic swimming pool at EDNAH containing dark green water. A larger pool, which was also full of green water, is fenced in where the dogs cannot get to it.
Some dogs are friendly but others bite and claw at people and other dogs. One volunteer was bit Sunday when a pit bull got out of its cage. He was not seriously injured.
"It's very sad that people depend on this shelter to take care of animals and you get here and the conditions are unbelievable," Montgomery said. "I've never seen anything like this."
Montgomery said the sheriff's office had received complaints about the Hansons in the past, but the couple would not let investigators on the property. He said there was not enough information available to get a search warrant at the time.
New information came to light Friday and investigators flew over the property in the county's helicopter. Montgomery would not specify what the new information detailed.
Investigator Randy Murray was in the helicopter and said he could not believe what he was seeing when flying over the property.
"I've never seen any (shelters) operated like this," he said.
Neighbor Ed Crawford, 75, said he has called authorities and the Humane Society several times about the problems with EDNAH. He said the raid was needed.
"It's a relief," Crawford said. "The barking has been driving me up a wall for the past two years. Every night and everyday."
Nancy and Jim McCormack live a half-mile from EDNAH.
"It's basically 24 hours a day of barking," Jim McCormack said. "We can't ever leave our windows open at night. We've called the sheriff several times."
Murray said approximately 70 or more of the dogs are pit bulls, 50 of which were brought to EDNAH within the last few weeks after being rescued from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"Our biggest concern is for the health of the animals," he said. "Disease is going to be a big problem. These dogs have also come from stagnant water in Louisiana."
Murray said one dog carcass with its head removed had been found on the property. He said the Hansons told him they suspected the dog had rabies and cut its head off to send out for testing.
Local veterinarian Dr. James Snodgrass checked out the dogs Friday and other veterinarians visited the site Saturday and Sunday. One seriously injured dog has been taken off the property to a local animal hospital.
Montgomery said his goal is to reunite the dogs with their owners and find them appropriate homes. "Our first and foremost concern is for the safety and well being of these animals, period," he said.
Investigators photographed and took video of the scene Saturday. Volunteers feed and water the dogs daily. They have also been cleaning up the feces, urine and trash surrounding the dogs.
"People say we're doing bad things to these dogs and we're not," Murray said.
Montgomery said once his department completes the investigation he will meet with prosecutors to see what legal actions can be taken.
This isn't the first time the Hansons have been in trouble because of a large number of dogs. Kansas City media reported in 2003 that the Hansons were investigated in Belton, Mo., where they were living at the time, for housing 80 dogs in and around their home. Charges were never brought against the couple.
The Hansons did not return telephone calls for comment.
Originally published October 24, 2005
All Bulletin Photos by Kevin Pieper
(Bulletin link removed)
|Dog with a broken back is taken for veterinary care.||Originally published October 24, 2005|
| Rescue groups come to the defense of Gamaliel couple
By CHANDRA HUSTON
Bulletin Staff Writer
Members of animal rescue groups are coming to the defense of two Twin Lakes Area residents arrested Friday for animal cruelty.
William and Tammy Hanson, owners of Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) were taken into custody after the Baxter County Sheriff's Office found an estimated 400-500 dogs on the property.
Pasado's Save Haven, an animal rescue group based in Seattle, Wash., posted notices on its Web site criticizing the Baxter County Sheriff's Office for raiding EDNAH and urging its members to write Sheriff John Montgomery.
Group members also said Montgomery was going to kill the
Some members from the Nola.com Pet Rescue Forum, an
Internet forum that was created to aid in animal rescue
after Hurricane Katrina, have also critiqued the
response of Baxter County authorities.
|EDNAH owners: 'We know
every name of every dog'
Owners of animal rescue sanctuary that was raided by police Friday admit they were overwhelmed, but argue they've done nothing wrong
GAMALIEL — William and Tammy Hanson say they love dogs.
"We know every name of every dog," Tammy Hanson said Monday in an interview with The Bulletin. "We know every dog and their temperament."
The Hansons are the owners and operators of Every Dog Needs a Home (EDNAH), a Gamaliel-based animal rescue sanctuary local authorities raided Friday.
Baxter County investigators found more than 400 dogs living in filthy conditions.
The Hansons were arrested and charged with animal cruelty. They have been banned from the property until the investigation is over.
"They should have seen it five days ago," Tammy Hanson said Monday.
She said the property was clean last week before an additional 60 dogs were brought to the sanctuary. She also said cages were being cleaned daily, and dogs were being fed and watered until her arrest Friday evening.
The Hansons said they were overwhelmed with new dogs continuously being brought to EDNAH, but never stopped caring for the animals.
"They were being cared for," she said. "I just picked up $5,000 worth of food on Wednesday."
"We were overwhelmed with the new dogs arriving, but we were getting it together," William Hanson said. "A week from now it would have been a whole different story."
Hanson said she and William spent $98,000 last year on dog food. They rely on donations in addition to their own money.
Tammy Hanson said hundreds of animal rescue organizations were begging her to take in more dogs that were going to be destroyed after Hurricane Katrina. Hanson said she told these organizations she could not take in any more dogs, but members of PasadoRescue, an animal rescue group based in Seattle, Wash., brought more than 60 pit bulls a few weeks ago.
She said the Pasado members looked over the site before leaving the pit bulls and said it met their standards.
Pasado volunteers Deborah and Dave Eizinger said the people who dropped off the dogs were not allowed past a second gate on the property.
Tammy Hanson, who said she has 22 years of experience with rescuing animals, said EDNAH is a temporary holding site for dogs and that once owners could be found the dogs would be sent to another site.
She said some of the dogs belong to soldiers in Iraq and some to New Orleans police officers. Hanson said she spent five weeks in New Orleans and brought back 14 dogs in a horse trailer.
Hanson said many of the dogs need daily medicine and special care, and she is afraid they are not getting that care now.
"We really want people to be reunited with their dogs," she said. "They've been through enough torture being in a hurricane."
At least six dead dogs have been found on the property — some in travel cages and others in bags.
The couple said one dog that was suspected of having rabies had been killed prior to the police search, but no others were dead.
"Not one dog was dead when we left," Tammy Hanson said.
Hanson said she thinks Sheriff John Montgomery's search of the property is politically motivated. She said she was not allowed to clean cages or put some of the dogs up after authorities came to EDNAH.
"Sheriff Montgomery's behavior is animal cruelty," she said.
Hanson said rumors about her providing pit bulls for fighting are untrue. She said she does not know if the dogs were in fight rings before being brought to EDNAH.
The Hansons said they would like to continue an animal rescue operation after police conclude their investigation.
Originally published October 25, 2005
Conditions improving fast for dogs
Animals can't leave property
the Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) Sanctuary are in need
Humane Society standards may have been violated
An animal shelter or rescue can take care of hundreds of
animals at one time if it's properly staffed, Pauli
|Judge orders some
dogs to be removed
Trial date set for sanctuary operators
A judge ordered today that 104 dogs can be removed from Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNHA).
The rest of the dogs will remain in the custody of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office for three weeks.
After that time, Prosecutor Ron Kincaid said he hopes to have agreements to place the remaining dogs in
PasadoRescue’s Mark Steinway said 25 of their dogs will be removed from the property Friday and taken
to a facility in Alabama.
William Hanson, 41, and wife Tammy, 38, were arrested last Friday after Baxter County Sheriff’s Office
investigators found more than 450 dogs on their property living in unsanitary conditions.
The Hansons trial date was set for Jan. 16, 2006.
Originally published October 27, 2005
Some dogs can leave, judge says
More than 100 of 477 dogs found at a Gamaliel animal shelter will begin leaving the property today.
District Judge Van Gearhart ordered Thursday during an emergency hearing that 104 dogs can be removed from Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH). Most of those dogs were sent to EDNAH by PasadoRescue, a Seattle, Wash.,-based animal rescue group.
Approximately 60 people packed the courtroom Thursday to hear the orders.
The judge also noted that the dogs will remain in the custody of the Baxter County Sheriff's Office for three weeks. After that time, Prosecutor Ron Kincade said he hopes to have agreements to place the remaining dogs in reputable shelters.
Kincade said if placements are not worked out in three weeks another hearing can be set to determine what to do with the dogs.
"They're (Hansons) not going to be back in the dog business," he said.
PasadoRescue's Mark Steinway said 25 of their dogs will be removed from the property today and taken to a facility in Alabama.
William Hanson, 41, and wife Tammy, 38, were arrested a week ago after Baxter County investigators found more than 450 dogs on their property living in unsanitary conditions.
The Hansons pleaded not guilty Thursday in district court. Gearhart set the Hansons' trial date for Jan. 16, 2006.
The couple will not be allowed on the property but will have access to their property today to remove or secure personal effects. The two or their lawyer will be escorted by a Baxter County deputy.
"We don't want the defendants there interfering," Kincade said.
Kincade said unfortunately the law has no good resolution for preserving evidence when animals are involved.
"We want to do what's best for the dogs," he said.
Originally published October 28, 2005