Sacramento, CA (January 20, 2006) – Today United Animal Nations (UAN) praised a Baxter County, Arkansas district judge who, on Monday, found the operators of a so-called sanctuary where hundreds of dogs were found living in deplorable conditions last October guilty on 20 counts of animal cruelty. In his ruling, Judge Van Gearhart ordered that Tammy and William Hanson could not possess any more animals “anywhere in the world” pending the outcome of their sentencing hearing.
The Hansons were arrested on October 21, 2005 after law enforcement officials searched the Every Dog Needs a Home (EDNAH) site and found nearly 500 animals, most ill or emaciated, living in neglect amid filth and debris. Authorities seized the animals, and through its volunteer-driven Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS), UAN stepped in to care for them while law enforcement officials investigated the case.
When investigators arrived on the scene, at least five dogs were dead and dozens ran loose. Most dogs were crammed into cages too small to accommodate them and stood in their own waste. Of the more than 470 dogs on the property, approximately 60 had been brought to EDNAH after being rescued from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Working with the Humane Society of the United States, UAN deployed 70 EARS volunteers – many of whom had just returned home after volunteering in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath – to the site over a 22-day period. In addition to providing basic animal care, such as watering, feeding and walking, UAN’s volunteers filled 18 dumpsters with waste and debris, erected new kennels and weather-proof sheltering, and established a maternity ward for the many pregnant dogs. Veterinarians treated infections, parasites, heartworm, fighting injuries, abscessed wounds, mange and other conditions. In November, the animals were relocated to animal shelters throughout the country and adopted into new homes.
“We commend Judge Gearhart and the local authorities for doggedly pursuing this case and making the animals’ welfare their top concern,” said UAN president and CEO Jennifer Fearing. “They are sending a powerful message that our society must take animal cruelty seriously, and that we cannot let those who abuse and neglect animals off lightly.”
The Hansons will be sentenced on February 23. They face a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
See photos of the EARS response to this case here.
Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations is North America’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services and a key advocate for the critical needs of animals.