Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Tammy Hanson, 36(1) 132 dogs seized, living in unsanitary conditions, theft of dogs & tampering with evidence

Belton, MO

Cass County

July 17, 2003  
William Hanson, 39(1) 132 dogs seized, living in unsanitary conditions

Belton, MO

Cass County

July 17, 2003  
Tammy Hanson, 38(2) 477 animals found living in squalor

Gambaliel, AR

Baxter County

October 21, 2005  
William Hanson, 41(2) 477 animals found living in squalor

Gambaliel, AR

Baxter County

October 21, 2005  

Tammy Hanson, 41(3)

aka Christine Miller

fraud/theft of a dog

Walden, VT

Caledonia County

December, 2008  

William Hanson, 45(4)

aka Henry Miller

cited for animal cruelty, 30 dogs seized, living in unsanitary conditions

Sutton, VT

Caledonia County

August 11, 2009  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse

(1)Felony, MO

(2)Class A misdemeanor, AR

(3) Felony, VT

(4) Misdemeanor, VT

(1) felony theft, in MO; convicted of impersonating a medical doctor in 1993 in IL

(2)fugitives from justice in AR

(3)felony theft in VT

(4) repeat offender in VT

(1) 132 dogs

(2) 477 dogs, cats, pups, goats & guinea pigs

(3) 1 Golden Retriever

(4) 30 dogs

(1) Not charged

(2) Convicted

(3) Unknown

(4) Unknown

(1)Lawrence County Courthouse, MO

(2)Baxter County Courthouse, AR

(3)Cakedibua District Court, VT

(4)Caledonia District Court, VT

The Missouri Case (2003):
Cass County prosecutors will not charge Tammy & William Hanson, a Cass County couple with neglect for keeping 132 dogs in their home in Belton, MO in 2003.

Chief among the evidence: a lot of wagging tails. "As best as I can tell," Cass County Prosecutor Chris Koster said, "the dogs are happy."

But William and Tammy Hanson have agreed to try to get most of the dogs adopted out, and Cass County is posting pictures of unclaimed dogs on its website in case some of the dogs match up with people who lost their pets.

County officials seized the dogs on July 17th and took them to a half-dozen private and public animal shelters.

The Hanson's accumulated the dogs in what amounted to an unlicensed shelter at their home southwest of Belton, Koster said. Many had been rescued from overloaded shelters, where they risked being euthanized. Koster said he thought Tammy Hanson "was a good person trying to do a noble thing."

The Hanson's attorney, Dana Apple, said the couple had appealed a notice from the county that an ordinance limited them to 4 dogs. But the Hanson's are planning to move out of state, she said, and instead will try to find homes for most of the dogs.

The Hanson's were trying to ease a crisis in the millions of dogs and cats that have to be euthanized every year, Apple said.

These 132 dogs might be spoken for, she said, "but there are still, not hundreds, but thousands in shelters around the area looking for homes."

Later it was determined that Tammy Hanson was wanted in Missouri for stealing some of the 132 dogs.

The investigation also revealed that in 1994 Tammy Hanson, then known as Tammy Doneski, was convicted of impersonating a medical doctor in Illinois.

Update 7/19/03:
The Hanson's want to reclaim the 132 dogs that authorities seized from their home on July 17th.

In the meantime, William & Tammy Hanson have specified that the dogs be housed in private kennels and have agreed to pay the bills, county Sheriff Dwight Diehl said. The Hanson's attorney would not comment on the financial arrangements.

The Sheriff's Department took the dogs, citing unsanitary living conditions in the home. The dogs were housed in the ranch home and in a fenced-off back yard. No charges had been filed. "If she cleans up the environment, she'll be allowed to have four 4 back," Diehl said.

The county allows residents to have 4 pets without a special permit. Before the seizure, the Hanson's had been seeking a zoning variance, which would allow them to keep the dogs.

Dana Apple, the Hanson's attorney, said the dogs normally stayed outside. Because of the hot weather, Apple said, the animals had been allowed to wander in and out of the air-conditioned home. Not all the dogs were house-trained.

Apple said the Hanson's, at times, had allowed others to adopt some of the dogs, but only after they screened potential owners. If the Hanson's are forced to give up their animals, Apple said, they hope that officials will make sure that the dogs go to good homes. The Hanson's took in dogs that nobody wanted, Apple said. They also had hopes of operating an animal shelter that probably would have been located somewhere other than their home. "They (the animals) have gone from death row to the Hanson house with food, water and veterinary care," Apple said. "Tammy quit working to take care of them full time."

Apple said she would meet with the Cass County prosecutor next week to discuss legal proceedings and the ownership of the dogs.

Reference: The Kansas City Star

Impersonation case (1992-1993 in IL):
A 27-year-old Lincoln Park woman impersonated a medical doctor and worked at a North Side human reproduction center without a license, according to an indictment authorities announced Wednesday, March 30th.

Tammy Doneski, of the 1700 block of North Fern Ct., also was charged with "attaching the title of doctor" to her name and passing out business cards identifying herself as a physician, prosecutor Catherine Sanders said.

Sanders said Doneski, who faces up to 3 years in prison if convicted of the felony charges, was indicted on 5 counts and is scheduled to be arraigned April 14th. Sanders said she did not know if Doneski has been arrested.

Doneski falsely claimed to have a medical degree from the University of Chicago and was employed at the Center for Reproduction in the 700 block of North Orleans, Sanders said. On at least 3 occasions between March 1992, and October 1993, Doneski, who no longer works at the clinic, allegedly told patients she was a medical doctor, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges that Doneski "engaged in diagnosis or treatment of ailments, deformities, disorders or injuries to human beings" without having a license to practice medicine.

Reference: The Chicago Sun Times

The Arkansas Case (2005-2006):
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Department found an estimated 477 dogs, caged or roaming, living at the facility known as (EDNAH) Every Dog Needs a Home run by Tammy and William Hanson after conducting a helicopter fly over of the property on Friday, October 21, 2005.

The fly over was initiateed while on a marijuana eradication project and by a rumor that more than 100 dogs, victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were being held at the facility.

The Sheriff’s found the facility to have no permanent shelter or bathroom facilities.  Five dogs were found dead on the property, some in torn garbage bags.  Some 50 dogs were running loose.  The dogs in pens/runs were found to have no shelter, no tarps or protection from the elements.  Five to 10 male & female dogs were found together.  Some of these dogs were injured and/or aggressive.  The largest pen/run had only 2 doghouses with 50+ dogs in the pen.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Pieper, the Baxter Bulletin  The Hanson’s were arrested and charged with a Class A animal cruelty misdemeanor, which is punishable of fines up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail.  The Hanson’s were also banned from the property by a judge until November 17th so that animal rescue groups could recover the dogs they had sent to EDNAH after rescuing them from the hurricanes.

Volunteers from the Humane Society of North Central Arkansas are taking care of the animals that remain on site.  One volunteer reports that at least 12 of the dogs had not been let out of their cages since they were brought to EDNAH after the hurricanes.  Another volunteer reports that when he went to change the litter for 2 young, gray cats, there was an inch and a half of crud—feces and urine—with maggots in the litter box in their cage.

The conditions at the facility were a nightmare.   Dogs were found standing in their own filth.  Many of the dogs were aggressive because their paws were burning and bleeding and in pain.

When Tammy Hanson was released on bail, she reportedly told a local newspaper that the dogs were being cared for, that the cages were being cleaned daily and that the animals were being fed and watered daily.

Tammy Hawley, a program coordinator for the HSUS Southwest Regional Office has been deputized by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office to be the incident commander of the emergency sheltering team.  The team consists of expert volunteers and trained dog handlers from the HSUS, Pasado Safe Haven, the ASPCA, the American Humane Association, United Animal Nations and the North Central Arkansas Humane Society.

In 10 days these volunteers have built dozens of new dog runs, fed, watered, walked and provided emergency veterinary care for the hundreds of animals. The volunteers even built a maternity ward to house the new mothers and nearly 20 puppies.  They are in their own pens, on clean blankets and out of the chilling air and rain, with fresh food and water.  Best of all they no longer have to compete with some 30 other dogs for food and water.

Many of the animals are on antibiotics for persistent infections; others are being treated for parasites both internal and external, advanced heartworm, fight injuries and abscessed wounds.  The goal is to have all the dogs vetted, microchipped and photographed.  The photos were posted at http://www.petharbor.com to give owners a chance to identify their animals. Most of the other Hurricane Katrina/Rita animals rescued are also posted on this website.

The Baxter Sheriff’s Department is trying to get the Hanson’s to surrender all of the animals before the case goes to trial.

  photo courtesy of United Animal Nation  This dog died from neglect alone in his cage.

  photo courtesy of United Animal Nation   Two more dead dogs, 1 on the top left corner and 1 in the trashbag 

        

photo's courtesy of Mountain Home Pets

Debris, feces, maggots and trash from the grounds filled 18 dumpsters; dogs found piled into crates that should have held only 1 large dog or 2 small dogs.

  photo courtesy of United Animal Nation

photo courtesy of Mountain Home Pets The dogs were victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and given to the Hanson’s by rescue groups such as Pasado Safe Haven and the HSUS as well as other rescue groups.  These Rescue Groups went immediately to EDNAH to correct the situation and to care for the animals.  Pasado pulled the 18 animals they sent. 

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery reports that several dogs have already been reunited with their original owners, including 1 dog whose owner was relocated after the hurricane to Texas.  Another dog was reunited with a local Arkansas owner who had reported the dog missing.

Note that the rescue groups desperately sought to relocate the animals in 48 states to get them out of harms way after the hurricanes and subsequent floods hit Louisiana.  It is estimated that some 400 animals went to EDNAH while the rescue groups were in the midst of one of the biggest natural disaster in the history of the United States.  Some interviewed the Hanson’s, checked their references, visited the site, and simply did not witness the conditions that were subsequently reported.  Another reference was from a veterinary school that spoke highly of their involvement with EDNAH after the Hanson’s reported that some neighbors had poisoned their dogs and the efforts the Hanson’s went to to save the animals who had been poisoned.  Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine did a kidney transplant on a 6-year-old dog named Talitha owned by the Hanson’s in 2004.

Pasado bought and had delivered $11,000 of kennels for the Hanson’s.  When their staff arrived to retrieve the 18 dogs they found all of the purchased kennels in a pile and unassembled.

In our opinion none of these rescue organizations should be vilified for their efforts – our group was in New Orleans doing some of the rescues and nowhere in the US have we ever had such a problem to deal with.  What happened in New Orleans should be a wake up call for everyone all over the US to allow peoples pets to go with them in the event of evacuations.

At the court hearings:
Tammy Hawley who served as incident commander at EDNAH for HSUS testified in court that she had an average of 38 volunteers every day to help with the care and feeding of the dogs.  She arrived at the compound on October 24, 2005 and was there for 2 months.

photo courtesy of United Animal Nation Hawley also testified about the conditions of the animals.  One dog, Della, had ear trouble and a tumor between her toes, as well as overgrown toenails which were imbedded in her paws.  Many other dogs also had ingrown toenails; some had mange; others mattered fur.  One dog, known as Grandpa, had stones which made it difficult for him to urinate. Max, a 3-legged dog, had maggots in his ears.  Another dog, 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.  The eye had to be removed.  Another dog was found with a broken back and had to be euthanized.

Investigator Randy Murray and Deputy Benny Magness testified that as they had flown over the compound and observed a large number of dogs running loose, others in 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 standing pools of stagnant water.

Update 11/15/05:
The Hanson's charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty on October 21st for keeping 100 Hurricane Katrina dogs among nearly 500 animals in filthy, cramped conditions has been deemed the largest case of animal hoarding in the US.

At least 6 dogs that had been rescued from New Orleans were dead -- some still in the cages they were sent in from Louisiana.

photo courtesy of United Animal Nation William Hanson denied mistreating the 477 dogs, 3 goats and 2 cats.

Update 1/16/06:
Tammy (age 38) and William (age 41) Hanson were convicted on 20 out of 28 counts of animal cruelty.  They were to be sentenced on February 23rd. Judge Van Gearhart barred the couple from owning or possessing any animals anywhere in the world.

photo courtesy of Kevin Pieper, the Baxter Bulletin Tammy was also arrested after the court hearing on a felony theft warrant from Missouri.  She was accused of steeling a dog from a woman in Lawrence County, MO.  As she was handcuffed in the courtroom, dozens of people, many local residents who volunteered to care for the dogs burst into applause.

William Hanson remains free on bond pending sentencing.  Hanson’s attorney Paul Ford indicated that they plan to appeal their convictions.

Update 2/23/06:
The Hanson’s failed to show up in court for sentencing.  Failure to appear warrants were issued for the couple by Baxter County District Court Judge, Van Gearhart.

The Humane Society of the United States offered $2,500 for information leading to the capture and arrest of the Hanson’s.

Tammy Hanson was also scheduled to be arraigned on 6 misdemeanor charges from Missouri and 6 outstanding misdemeanor warrants from Baxter County for theft of property and tampering with evidence.

In one theft of property affidavit, a man who volunteered with the Humane Society to take care of the dogs at EDNAH saw his 2 beagles, which went missing a year before, on the property. Both were registered with the American Kennel Club. He told authorities he kept asking Hanson if she had seen his dogs, and she always denied seeing them, according to the affidavit.

In the 2nd theft affidavit, Tammy Hanson is alleged to have stolen 2 dogs from the front yard of a woman's house in August 2004. They later were found among the dogs at EDNAH. In the 3rd affidavit, she is alleged to have taken a dog in December 2004 from a woman who paid her to transport the animal to Washington. It also was located at EDNAH.

Update 3/14/06:
The Hanson’s are still at large.  Prosecutor Emily Reed stated her office received information that the couple may be in Missouri.

Update 8/12/06:
Hanson may be using her maiden name, Doneski.  She and her husband, aided by her mother, have been adopting dogs from shelters in Missouri.  She states she specializes in aggressive breeds.

Update 7/23/09:
The HSUS issued a press release praising Baxter County Arkansas Sheriff John Montgomery for his perseverance and determination in locating and apprehending the Hanson's. Sheriff John Montgomery has been instrumental in tracking down these fugitives, ending with their apprehension in Vermont this week.

This case served as the force that was needed to pass a felony animal cruelty law in Arkansas this year. Sheriff Montgomery played an active role in getting this law passed; along with Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

The HSUS and Montgomery supported S.B. 77, now Act 33, which becomes law July 31, 2009. The law creates 1st -time felony penalties for the torture of dogs, cats and horses, and outlaws animal fighting, including cockfighting. The law also carries a 5-year sentence enhancement for abusing an animal in the presence of a child. Montgomery conveyed to his state legislators the necessity of felony cruelty laws in order to properly extradite animal cruelty cases, such as the case against the Hanson's.

This law is a monumental step in the prosecution of animal abusers. The HSUS praised the Attorney General’s Office for committing $250,000 to the training of officers in the interpretation and the administration of the new animal cruelty statutes. Sheriff Montgomery has worked closely with the Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute setting up the curriculum for this new training.

The actions that were taken by everyone involved on behalf of these sad victims of abuse gave them a voice. A voice that needed to be heard.

The Vermont Case (2008-2009):
Tammy Hanson now waiting extradition to Missouri and Arkansas faces charges in Vermont.

Tammy Christine Hanson, who is lodged at a jail in St. Albans, was cited by Caledonia County Sheriff's Sgt. William O'Hare for false impersonation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years or $2, 000 fine or both.

Her husband, William Hanson, was charged with animal cruelty after deputies executed a search warrant at the Sutton house the Hanson's were renting under the assumed names of Christine and Henry Miller.

This latest charge against Tammy Hanson stems from her arrest in July as a fugitive from justice from Arkansas and Missouri. She was wanted in Missouri for stealing dogs.

After Tammy Hanson was arrested in July, O'Hare received a call from a Walden resident who recognized Hanson's photograph in the newspaper.

The caller said in December 2008, after the sudden death of a family member, she met with Tammy Hanson in Walden. Hanson told her she was a lawyer and a doctor and owned an animal rescue facility in Montana. The caller was extremely distraught about the loss of the family member and Hanson convinced her to give her dog, an elderly Golden retriever named Sandy, to her to care for, according to a department release.

As a result of the 2008 investigation, Sheriff Sgt. William O'Hare obtained search warrants for the property at 386 Pierce Hill Road in Sutton. Deputies found 30 dogs inside the house August 11th.

They also found the golden retriever on the second floor of the house. The retriever had many patches of raw skin and was blind, deaf and unable to walk without help. The dog was identified as the golden retriever that was taken from the house in Walden in December 2008.

During a second search on August 24, deputies found 4 dogs inside a closed room with no ventilation. In other areas of the house, officers found piles of dog feces and urine.

As a result, William Hanson was cited for animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in Caledonia District Court September 14th.

In this latest case, Tammy Hanson is due in Caledonia District Court on Monday, July 27th to answer the charges.

Update 9/30/09:
Law enforcement officials from Arkansas arrived in St. Albans, VT at 3 am on Friday, September 25th and took Tammy Hanson, who was being held in the Northwest State Correctional Facility, back to Arkansas after her last effort to fight extradition was dismissed.

According to St. Johnsbury, Vermont's Caledonia County Sheriff Michael Bergeron, Tammy Hanson is now in Arkansas in state custody.

booking photo Cass County Sheriff's Department Tammy's husband, William Hanson, 44, was arrested in Missouri and may be returned to Arkansas.

The Hanson's were living on Pearce Road in Sutton, VT under assumed names when an anonymous tipster alerted Caledonia County Sheriff Michael Bergeron to the presence of the pair in Vermont.

The pair was wanted in Arkansas and Missouri as fugitives from justice. Both had been charged with multiple counts of animal abuse and stealing 20 dogs from a dog shelter in Missouri.

Tammy Hanson was convicted on 20 counts of animal cruelty in an Arkansas court in January 2006. She was to be sentenced in February, 2006 but did not appear for her sentencing. She was a fugitive from justice for 3 years.

Bergeron took Tammy Hanson into custody on misdemeanor charges in Arkansas and felony charges in Missouri. Her husband was not taken into custody because he is wanted only on a misdemeanor charge in Arkansas and according to Arkansas law, the state may not extradite someone on a misdemeanor charge.

According to Baxter County Arkansas Sheriff John Montgomery, who flew to Vermont to attend Tammy Hanson's 1st fugitive hearing, Tammy Hanson said she was running a rescue mission for dogs on her property in Arkansas. Most of the dogs, she said, were mostly Hurricane Katrina victims. When members of the Baxter County Sheriff's Department went to the property, they found 600+ abused and neglected animals as well as dead dogs.

According to Montgomery, at the time of Tammy Hanson's arrest, the case was the biggest animal cruelty case in the United States. Tammy Hanson has been held for lack of $25,000 bail while awaiting extradition.

William Hanson continued to live in Sutton and was cited by deputy sheriff William O'Hare on 4 counts of animal cruelty following an investigation by O'Hare.

When William Hanson failed to appear in Caledonia District Court in St. Johnsbury, VT for his arraignment on the animal cruelty charges, a warrant was issued for his arrest with bail set at $25,000. He was found in Missouri and a decision was made not to extradite him back to Vermont, according to Caledonia County Sheriff Michael Bergeron. Tammy Hanson was charged with misdemeanor interference with a domestic animal and was arraigned in Caledonia District Court. She entered a guilty plea and was fined $100.

The charge brought against Tammy Hanson stemmed from an allegation she obtained an elderly and sick dog from its owner under fraudulent circumstances.

The dog was removed from the Hanson's residence and had to be euthanized because of its longstanding health issues and lack of proper care.

On Friday, September 25th, a status conference was conducted for the extradition requests with Vermont's Franklin Superior Court Judge Ben Joseph. Joseph rejected Tammy Hanson's Habeas petition opposing extradition. The final obstacle to extradition was removed and Arkansas extradition request was approved.

Meanwhile, William Hanson faces misdemeanor charges in Missouri and could face additional criminal charges in Arkansas.

Update 10/9/09:
Animals from 2 different cases in Arkansas/Missouri are all in the eastern US now, either in new homes, or hoping to be in new homes soon.

The fugitives wanted for the then largest animal cruelty case in US history were arrested in Vermont. Then William Hanson ran again and was arrested in Holden, MO with 30 dogs.

The North County Animal League in Morrisville, VT were 1 of the shelters that answered the call to take in the dogs that William Hanson fled to MO with in September. After his apprehension, the dogs were returned to Vermont where he was indicted, and his wife was still incarcerated.

After arriving in Vermont, the VT Chapter of the Humane Society of the United States and the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society put out the call for assistance. Shelters responded to take in these confused and scared dogs. These dogs have traveled more than most people and under less than optimal circumstances.

The North County Animal League took 2 of the dogs, both renamed, not knowing their names, if they even had names. Louise was the beautiful black 3-legged Rottweiler we saw in several news reports. A real sweetie, she was adopted right away. Felix, a golden retriever-terrier mix, is still waiting for his forever home, and no one can figure out why, he is an absolutely adorable dog, loving with a kind and gentle spirit. He initially had a bad ear infection and surgical style staples in his ears, but those were removed and he is great now.

Also, the nearly 100 animals that were seized from the substandard breeding facility in Lamar, AR last week arrived in Washington, DC on Friday, October 2nd. This number includes 83 mostly small breed dogs and 6 cats The Washington Animal Rescue League plans to put the animals out for adoption as early as Thursday, October 15th. The 2 guinea pigs that were part of the rescue went to other shelters.

According to The Washington Animal Rescue League's website:
on examining the dogs, 7 the very worst off, were admitted as hospital patients and are being treated for acute emaciation, seizures, extreme lethargy, heart problems, blindness, and other conditions requiring longer term care. Although the others do not require hospitalization, they too will need to be treated for a variety of medical issues stemming from their prior living situation and years of nearly total neglect. Eye infections, skin problems, malnutrition, and some of the worst matting that staff has ever seen are just a few of the more common problems among the dogs. Some of the worst conditions may be yet to be discovered.

Nearly 100 dogs—Pekingese, Shih Tzu’s, Chihuahuas, terriers, and other small breeds—were living in cramped wire cages stacked floor to ceiling in rundown trailers. The cages were soiled with feces, urine, and moldy food. When removing the dogs, rescuers wore respirators because the choking stench in the trailers was so bad. One dog, too weak to stand, had to be cut loose from the cage after its fur became hopelessly enmeshed in the bars. The 6 cats were also in cages, but they were outdoors under a porch. Over the weekend, League veterinarians bathed the cats, mixed Siamese and rag dolls for the most part, appear to be in better physical condition, but they are totally unaccustomed to people and very frightened. Their social rehabilitation will be a big challenge.

Update 7/20/10:
Tammy Christine Hanson, now 43, was transferred from the Baxter County jail in Mountain Home Arkansas to the Lawrence County jail in southwest Missouri on Friday, July 16th where she is being held in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Prosecutors In Missouri charged Hanson with 3 felony counts of theft of an animal and a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear in court in Mount Vernon, MO.

Tammy Hanson appealed her conviction in Baxter County Arkansas' Circuit Court and requested a jury trial, but on Thursday, July 15th she accepted a negotiated settlement, Montgomery said. In exchange for her dropping her appeals, she was given credit for time she had spent in custody.

Tammy Hanson will remain on supervised probation with the Baxter County District Court until she pays her fines, court costs and restitution.

Update 2/24/12:
Tammy Hanson received a year in jail and fines. William Hanson received 8 months in jail and fines.

Sheriff John Montgomery of Baxter County made it his mission to locate the fugitives and he won an award from UAN (now Red Rover) for his dedication. He was also nominated for an “America’s Most Wanted” award given to lawmen who go above and beyond.

Incredibly, Tammy Hanson, who has now been released, has filed a federal civil suit in Baxter County, Arkansas alleging she was a victim of “cruel and unusual punishment” while in the county jail.

Hanson has still not paid her fines. She is representing herself in the lawsuit.

References:

HSUS Pasado Safe Haven
The Baxter Bulletin The San Diego Union-Tribune
The St. Louis Examiner ABC News
Mountain Home Pets UPI NewsTrack
The San Antonio Examiner Democrat-Gazette

The Vermont Case:
Tammy Hanson was waiting extradition to Missouri and Arkansas as a fugitive from justice, but faced charges in Vermont.

Tammy Christine Hanson, who was lodged at a jail in St. Albans, was cited by Caledonia County Sheriff's Sgt. William O'Hare for false impersonation, a felony punishable by up to 10 years or $2, 000 fine or both.

Her husband, William Hanson, was charged with animal cruelty after deputies executed a search warrant at the Sutton house the Hanson's were renting under the assumed names of Christine and Henry Miller. William Hanson was also a fugitive from justice stemming from the Arkansas case, when a tipster told police about an odd couple in Sutton. The Hanson's lived at the Sutton farmhouse for 3 years under the fake names of Christine and Henry Miller. Police said Tammy Hanson often told people she was an attorney and used that influence to convince locals to allow them to shelter their animals.

Caledonia County Sheriff Michael Bergeron said their local tipster told police that "Christine Miller" may really be Tammy Hanson, who was then on the Baxter County, AR Sheriff Department's Most Wanted List. Bergeron said the couple laid low while staying in Vermont and paid for items using cash to remain under the radar. "Tammy Hanson seemed very good at getting people to believe that was someone she wasn't," he said. "She told people she was an attorney or a doctor and they would believe her."

After Tammy Hanson was arrested in July, 2009, Caledonia County Sheriff's Sgt. William O'Hare received a call from a Walden resident who recognized Hanson's photograph in the newspaper. The caller said in December 2008, after the sudden death of a family member, she met with Tammy Hanson in Walden, VT. Hanson told her she was a lawyer and a doctor and owned an animal rescue facility in Montana. The caller was extremely distraught about the loss of the family member and Hanson convinced her to give her dog, an elderly Golden retriever named Sandy, to her to care for, according to a department release.

Sheriff Sgt. William O'Hare obtained search warrants for the property at 386 Pierce Hill Road in Sutton. Deputies found 30 dogs inside the house on August 11. They also found the golden retriever on the second floor of the house. The retriever had many patches of raw skin and was blind, deaf and unable to walk without help. The dog was identified as the golden retriever that was taken from the house in Walden in December 2008.

During a second search of the Pierce Hill Road home on August 24th, deputies found 4 dogs inside a closed room with no ventilation. In other areas of the house, officers found piles of dog feces and urine. As a result, William Hanson was cited for animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in Caledonia District Court September 14th..

In this latest case, Tammy Hanson is due in Caledonia District Court on July 27th to answer the charge.

Update 9/30/09:
More than 20 dogs at the center of a massive animal cruelty case that dragged on for years and stretched across three states have arrived back in Vermont.

Now they're looking for a home. At present, they are being cared for by the Vermont chapter of Humane Society of the United States. The animals were driven across the country this summer by William Hanson, now age 45, and an accused serial animal abuser, as he fled authorities in the Green Mountain State.

"These dogs have been through a lot," said Joanne Bourbeau, the state director of the Vermont Chapter of HSUS. "If dogs could talk, they would probably have quite a story to tell." The dogs lived with the Hanson's at a farmhouse in Sutton, according to police.

Caledonia County Sheriff Michael Bergeron said of the 30 dogs, most seemed obedient to the couple and in good health. Tammy Hanson was already in police custody and waiting extradition, Bergeron said.

William Hanson was cited to appear in Vermont court on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, a date he would not keep. "He was gone ... and he took all the dogs with him," Bergeron said, adding that he believed William Hanson may have had help loading all the dogs into a motor home.

The Caledonia Sheriff's Department arrested Tammy Hanson on July 18 for an outstanding felony warrant from Lawrence County in Missouri, for failing to appear in court on a charge of stealing animals. She also had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from Baxter County in Arkansas for skipping her sentencing on the animal cruelty charges.

For months, Tammy Hanson fought extradition to Arkansas, filing for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Vermont courts. On Sept. 16, Caledonia District Court Judge Benjamin Joseph rejected her petitions because they were improperly prepared. The judge also discharged her public defender because Hanson allegedly filed false financial information and was ineligible for state assistance to mount a defense.

On September 24th, Tammy Hanson was flown by Baxter County Sheriff Department officers from Burlington to Arkansas. She was scheduled to appear in the county's district court on Tuesday, September 29th on 20 counts of animal cruelty.

Bergeron said the case has left him scratching his head for a motive. "Tammy Hanson seemed very good at getting people to believe that she was someone she wasn't," he said. "She told people she was an attorney or a doctor and they would believe her." "I've heard about the psychological condition where people hoard animals and I think that plays a part here," he said. "But they were also clearly doing this for financial gain."

Just days before Tammy Hanson was extradited to Arkansas, her husband was found and arrested in Johnson County in Missouri. Based on tips in Missouri and from Vermont, authorities found him in a rural part of the town of Holden, according to police statements.

With him at the time of arrest were 22 dogs that he had taken with him from Vermont. The breeds of the rescued dogs are collies, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, miniature pinschers, a heeler and a 3-legged rottweiler. Bourbeau said some of the dogs are still in rough shape, including 1 that may need to have surgery to have an eye removed. "Almost all of them have some problems," she said. "Some of them have wounds that make it look like they may have been fighting with each other."

Right now the dogs are at the Lucy MacKenzie Humane Society in West Windsor, but they will soon be split up and sent to The Humane Society of Chittenden County, the North Country Animal League, the Rutland County Humane Society, the Central Vermont Humane Society and the Windham County Humane Society.

Heidi Edmunds, the director of the Lucy MacKenzie Humane Society, said adopting an animal is relatively easy. Prospective owners need to first visit with the animal to see if there is a connection and then fill out a form detailing some personal information. She said the shelter does check to ensure that possible new animal owners don't have a criminal history of abuse or neglect. "They can usually take the animal home in 2 days," she said.

 

 

Baxter County, Sheriff Found Not Guilty of Civil Rights Violations in Hanson Case
May 19th, 2014 | Author: Ed Button

  Photo courtesy of ozark area network
(Mountain Home) – After more than nine years of court battles, an out of state extradition, appeals, and the filing of a civil rights lawsuit, the saga of Tammy Hanson and the Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) compound seems to have reached a conclusion.
A federal jury for the Harrison Division of the United States District Court returned a verdict Friday in favor of Baxter County, Sheriff Montgomery, one former employee, and two current employees in her civil rights lawsuit after the jury decided, after a three hour deliberation, that Hanson’s civil rights had not been violated. Although Hanson told the court she planned to appeal, authorities say that, for all practical purposes, the case appears to be concluded.
In her 39 page complaint, filed March 8, 2010, Tammy Hanson named Sheriff John Montgomery, Baxter County, and at least 15 current or former employees of the sheriff’s office as defendants in her lawsuit. In her lawsuit, Tammy Hanson alleged a plethora of violations that included medical neglect, failure to properly train and supervise employees, and religious persecution or restrictions. She sought $300,000 in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages.


The Tammy Hanson case began on October 21, 2005 when investigators with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office conducted aerial reconnaissance of property in the Gamaliel area, where a dog compound or puppy mill was reported to be located. Investigators say approximately 100 dogs were seen freely running about the compound, along with dogs in cages, and some that were possibly dead.

A search warrant was conducted on the facility, where police say over 400 dogs were found in unsanitary pens not protected from the elements, and a number of dead dogs. The compound, called EDNAH, or Every Dog Needs A Home, also had over 50 pit bulls that were taken from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Tammy Hanson and her husband, William Hanson, were each charged with 28 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Tammy Hanson was also charged with three misdemeanor counts of theft of property and three misdemeanor county of tampering with evidence, after police say they found dogs on the property that were taken from local owners.
At the conclusion of the trial, Tammy Hanson and William Hanson were each convicted of 20 of the misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, with Tammy Hanson also being convicted of 2 of the misdemeanor counts of theft of property. The Hansons were set to appear for sentencing on February 23, 2006, however, they both fled the state before being sentencing.
They were found in July 2009 living in a farm house in Sutton, Vermont. Tammy Hanson was arrested and extradited back to Arkansas, however, William Hanson was still on the loose. He was later found in Kansas City and was extradited on October 25, 2009.
In November 2009, Tammy Hanson was sentenced to serve one year in the Baxter County Detention Center, while William Hanson was sentenced to a lesser term.

http://ozarkareanetwork.com/localnews/?p=35400

Arkansas woman jailed for cruelty sues jail
Associated Press State Wire: Arkansas (AR) - Saturday, February 25, 2012
Readability: 9-12 grade level (Lexile: 1130L)
A woman who was sentenced to a year in the Baxter County Jail for animal cruelty after taking in dogs abandoned following Hurricane Katrina is suing the jail over conditions she says she endured.

Tammy Christine Hanson, formerly of Gamaliel, claims she wasn't given food she needed for medical reasons, was denied medical care and wasn't allowed to practice her religion. She also says her cell was too small.

A U.S. magistrate conducted a two-day hearing that ended Wednesday with him asking both sides for more information.

The Baxter Bulletin reports (http://is.gd/X54voZ ) Hanson was held up as an example of why Arkansas needed a felony animal cruelty charge when the Legislature passed the law in 2009.

Hanson testified her shelter became overwhelmed in 2005 by dogs from New Orleans.

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Information from: The Baxter Bulletin, http://www.baxterbulletin.com

References:

The Caledonian-Record The Times Argus