More Than 100 Animals Removed From Tinley Park Animal Shelter

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A Tinley Park woman has been charged with multiple counts of animal neglect and cruelty after police rescued dozens of animals from the animal sanctuary she runs.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett Reports

Cook County Sheriff’s Police said they removed more than 100 animals – many of them malnourished or already dead – from Dazzle Painted Pasture Animal Rescue/Sanctuary on the 5500 block of West 175th Street in Tinley Park late Friday.

Authorities said conditions at the animal shelter had severely deteriorated, leaving animals living in unhealthy conditions. Barns, trailers and sheds were often unheated and left without food or water, police said.

The shelter’s owner, Dawn Hamill, 41, was charged Friday with eight counts of neglect of owner’s duties and two counts of cruel treatment.

Sheriff’s officers found a dead 3 ½-year-old miniature horse in a stall in the barn at the shelter, along with a dead 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, police said.

Hamill agreed to euthanize one dog on the property due to age, and another due to aggression issues.

In total, police removed 63 dogs, 31 cats, six rabbits and 30 horses, ponies, sheep, goats and llamas. One cat later died.

Police said that Hamill founded Painted Pasture in 2006 and bought animals from all over, including online.

Investigators learned that, over the years, Hamill became unable to properly care for the large number of animals she had taken in.

Police said Hamill thanked investigators for intervening in a situation that had grown out of control.

Hamill was due for a hearing at the courthouse in Markham on March 11.

More from Dave Marsett
  • gennesis

    This woman should rot in prison the way those poor animals did.

    • Britt & Jay

      I adopted a pug from this rescue, through Petsmart in Crestwood, IL, and can say that she is a very good dog, although I have put out ALOT of money on medication for her. She came to us with hookworm, as well as severe dermatitis which had led to bald spots on her tail and hind quarters. I have had her less than a month and she has been threw a lot already. I’m so glad that this organization was repremanded for their neglect and abuse. There is no excuse for this. Not only should this rescue be repremanded, and appropriate actions be taken, but, Petsmart in Crestwood, where I adopted my dog, should have some action taken against them as well for not properly looking into the shelter they allow to conduct adoptions at their site.

    • Trump

      Hamill and the Gecan family live in the excess and blame their problems on lack of money makes me SICK. Shame on them!!!

    • Trump

      Check out Painted Pastures website the list of donators range from the White Sox to the Cubs.She advertises cageless living for those poor animals.She makes me sick.All the excess at the expense of the animals.

      • JO

        Someone had once said that Dawn Hamill was a loving, nurturing, mother figure. I beg to differ. I know her, and I would never trust her with my sibilings if this is the way she treats her animals. This women is good for nothing, and got her fix of Karma. As a commented stated above her sponsors range from the Chicago Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, etc. She is thanking government officials for intervening, but if you have all these big name sponsors you should have the money to rightfully care for these animals. Where is your money going to Dawn? and for you who stick up for this pathetic women, shes a homewrecker. And nothing more. I hope she reads this.

  • Diane

    The government should have given this shelter money!

    • Jane Doe

      Why so she can have a bigger boob job and take another cruise. Yeah right…get a grip. This woman is not about the animals. Enjoy your front page now Dawn.

    • Cathy

      Why do people always expect the government to pay for people’s stupid decisions? Where do you think the government gets their money? This woman took on more than she could handle. I don’t know how anyone can sit there and watch animals suffer and take in more. She deserves procecution to the full extent of the law.

    • Joe

      Give me a break. how about you give them money, and donate your time. The government cannot do everything.

    • Appylady53

      They have 3 Hummers, if they can afford those (probobly from donated money) they DO NOT NEED THE GOVERNMENTS HELP!

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  • Gerald Spencer

    Some people have everything good in their hearts but nothing in their heads. Benefit of the doubt that this woman actually did have it all in her heart but the working scheme of things wasn’t to be found elsewhere. I’m not sure “the government” should be paying private citizens for good intentions but no wherewithal.

  • Bob

    This woman had years to properly maintain and take care of the animals she neglected them by continuing to take in more animals that she could not handle. They should make example out of her , maybe even prove where all the money from donations have gone. How the vehicles she drives or maybe the implants even. Thank you uncle sam

  • Tom Fantasia

    I’ve known Dawn Hammel for over 20 years, she is the one of the most caring persons I’ve ever met. She loves animals and l do’t believe what is written here. As far as an animal dying, what would anyone expect with the volume of sick animals she has taken in over many years. Prior to establishing the shelter she always had nice cars. These wern’t paid for by the state, people who wrote this article need to get their facts straight before you slander someone. I would not hesitate to ever adopt or bring an animal to Dawn. All our best to you Dawn…..

    • Cathy

      A caring person wouldn’t let animals suffer and die like this. When she realized she had too many to properly care for, she should have stopped taking more in and gone to authorities to help with the ones she had. If you would take an animal to a person like this, you are as uncaring as she is.

    • jane doe

      right the money came from people who donated money to care for the animals…….she is selfish!!

    • Sue

      I can’t believe that you are supporting this person’s obvious neglect of these animals. To state that you would leave animals with Dawn shows a lack of rational thought. This isn’t slander – look at the pictures! Clearly these animals were not being looked after and something should have been done. People who stood by and did nothing are just as guilty.

      At some point you have to distance yourself and realize that something is wrong.

  • jerry

    where did they send these animals this is not what god ment things to be pray for the lady and the animals

  • dee

    I have personal knowledge of some of the animals that were taken in by this woman. Caring was now where in the scenario!!! She was on a power trip, took animals she had NO LEGAL right to take and then starved them. This happened in a very short amount of time, these horses dropped hundreds of pounds before their rightful owner was able to retake possession of them after Dawn illegally took them.
    These were well taken care of beautiful horses before Dawn got her hands on them and there were plenty of people to vouch including, pictures. They were being fed alfalfa hay, grain feed, clean box stalls, shelters etc. Yet, Dawn took them under the pretense of neglect when in fact, it was a husbands cruelty towards his estranged wife.

  • Michelle

    These poor animals are at the Chicago ridge animal welfare league which is a kill facility. This makes me sick that the department of agriculture told southern IL pounds it was safe to send animals to this place. They clearly did not check her out before saying it was a place that was suitable for animals to live, but then again I guess they never do. This is heartbreaking for me as an animal rescuer because these animals awaited their fate before going to that place, endured who knows what and now face death once again because of irresponsibility.

  • chipp

    The dogs were taken to a High Kill shelter that is inhumane the officials should have helped this woman

  • Pam

    The Dept of Ag does check out shelters but I am sure there have been cutbacks and not enough staff to thoroughly check them all out as they should. The shelter I volunteer at in Central Illinois was inspected a couple of months ago and they went through our paperwork as well as the shelter itself.

    Considering these animals came from a horrific situation they should NOT have been sent to a high kill facility. They don’t stand much of a chance since so many shelters are already hurting financially and can’t afford the extra expense of so many neglected animals. It seems they should have contacted other shelters and rescues to help. If we get full we try to find rescues that will pull some of our dogs and cats to save them. A complaint should have been made a long time ago about the conditions and help should have been found for those poor animals.

  • Jane Doe

    This was never about the animals, she is a only about the money. Now let’s find out where all that money went, because it obviously didn’t go to the animals. Numerous expensive trip, plastic surgery, and 3 hummers… She needs to go down.

    • jane doe

      I hope she gets put thru what these poor animals did, she deserves it, very selfish!!

  • Carie

    Are you kidding me? This is so OFF! Dawn is wonderful! She collects these sick and abused animals and nurses them back to health. The animals that were unhealthy came to her that way and were on their way to being whole again. If they died, it’s because they didn’t get into her care fast enough. Dawn has a golden heart towards animals. She works hard to get support and food for these animals and deserves to be applauded , not ridiculed. We’re praying for you Dawn!

    • natisha

      Carie, how hard is it to keep a place clean? You don’t need money for that. It worriies me that she has friends who think what she did is OK. This is all so sick & seems never ending when people think like you do.

    • Boss

      LOL Really Carie? Because I’m not seeing the love. It sure isn’t coming through in the pictures of filthy kennels and dead animals. Perhaps they were sick before she brought them in, but how long do you leave your dead pony laying in the barn isle? How long has it been since those cat boxes were cleaned? Part of recovering health is sanitary conditions. You cannot expect their health to improve when they are living in filth.
      If you saw this happening and said nothing, you are just as ignorant as your ‘golden hearted’ friend. She didn’t do the best she could and neither did you. The thing about hoarders is that they are all essentially the same. They take in more than they can handle and let the animals die in filth. All while crying that they are doing the best they can. The fact that they truly believe it doesn’t make them golden hearted, it makes them delusional.

    • john doe

      Most people are praying for the animals not DAWN!! She didnt care about the animals just herself, getting several plastic surgeries, 3 hummers for the faculty…

  • Michelle

    Department of ag is never thorough. That’s why places like muddy paws and pet rescue were able to keep their horrible conditions under wraps for so long and the animals suffered in the end. If you want something done for animals you have to stand at lisa madigans door step and fight for those without a voice! Some of those dogs that are listed on pet finder for painted pastures were animals I received emails about needing help from southern IL pounds…and to think that one dog was killed because of his age just sickens me, esp since this so called wonderful person dawn gave the o.k.-that, I’m afraid, is NOT someone who I want to call a fellow rescuer.

    And carie, that’s exactly what she did…she COLLECTED animals. She may have saved some (the ones that made it out of there) but these that now face DEATH she did not help at all. Their lives are forever changed.

  • Pam Stella

    Gee, it would sure be nice to know the real story. Those of us involved in animal rescue/welfare know damn well we’re not in it for the money! However, if Dawn had bitten off more than she could chew, she should have been more proactive about finding assistance so that none of the animals suffered. I don’t know her personally, but for somebody to open up their home and dedicate their life to caring for homeless animals…I know several of these people and they are all big-hearted. Let’s hope the real facts come to light in this investigation and in the mean time, all rescuers and animal people, start connecting with folks to get these fur-kids into proper homes! Animal Welfare League should be very busy in the next couple of weeks with people who want to adopt or rescue these animals!

    • john doe

      If you did know her you would be angry too!! She put herself fist not the animals. Vacations boob jobs, 3 hummers and much more…

  • Sharon

    I cannot believe this. I know Dawn and she either got in over her head and was becoming overwhelmed with everything or this disgruntled employee is looking for ‘something’. Dawn would never do what half of these people are claiming. She’s not a hoarder and all she has ever cared about is helping the animals. I was there in October and her rescue location looked nothing like what these pictures are indicating. I just don’t know what could have happened. And for all of you talking about her boob jobs, fake nails and eyelashes, Hummers………so what?? That has nothing at all to do with the care she gave these animals. Those who know Dawn should support her, in and out of court. I for one will be there………

    • animalluv

      You must be kidding, she lives on this property, she knew long ago that she had to many animals to care for properly and would not do anything about it. She had many horses that could have went to good homes and she would not adopt them out and when asked about them she said they were her personal animals, really well then she should have stepped into the barn and groomed them once in awhile. While I volunteered there she never once came out and put a brush on a horse. Matted manes and tails everywhere. Poor horses would just look at you like please spend time with me. This is called hoarding plain and simple nothing more. She deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. You don’t let a dead animal lay there and decompose without knowing its there.

    • JANE DOE

      SO WHAT???? Sh got most of that if not all with donated money to care for the animals not HER

  • ShameonDawn

    She is a swindler…she is a lying thief too that is definitely about money…sorry..I have proof.

  • anon

    I’m glad this is coming to light. I personally know Dawn had no interest in trying to learn to take better care of her animals. She was perfectly happy running her “shelter” the way they found it. She had even talked about breeding some of her dogs a while back! Losing touch with that woman was the best decision i’ve ever made

    • BrendaB

      Anon…If you seen these conditions, then why did you walk away and leave these animals? Actually, How could you have walked away and leave these animals?

      • Kim

        Shelters were releasing unadoptable dogs and cats due to age and disabilities to her thinking she was caring for these animals she is no better thatn Michael Vick needs to go to prison ..

  • BrendaB

    I’ve been busy and not been watching the news so the only thing I know of this is what I have read in this and one other article.
    As for those that claim they don’t understand what happened that she loves animals? All I can say is, if she loved them and took sincere-responsibility for what she took on…Hummers…(no food)…boob job…(no food)…trips…(no food)?
    @Sharon: How could you say, “So what?” I seen where someone had said that she already had her vehicles and other things before the ABUSE began … well Sharon, I’d have to agree with your choice of words! “SO WHAT'” sell the Hummer and feed the animals that you claim she loved so much!
    There’s an old saying, Action speaks louder than words and I for one will be rescuing one of those dogs.

  • nordberg

    3 humvees , convertible bmw, no job She is a criminal.

  • Lisa

    WOW – everyone has something to say – when they no nothing
    or assume – we need to keep dawn and those animals in prayer
    and have faith that out of this horrible situation something good will
    come for those animals – i already see such an outreach of people
    who want to help. May blessings continue to pour down.

    • Jo

      I’d like to take Dawn out behind the woodshed!! I don’t think she’d be running around the country collecting animals she knew she couldn’t support!

  • Cindy

    Please, if you have room in your home and in your heart, adopt one of these animals! I already have 4 rescue dogs, and know my limits, or I’d be bringing one home.

    Are there any reports or where the horses, llamas and goats are at in the placement process? I’ve only seen vague references.

  • Jo

    People weren’t bringing animals to this place they were looking on petfinder and calling themselves a sanctuary. I found a real sanctuary in MN for a senior dog but this place got involved with the shelter and came all the way into Michigan to get this dog before Home For Life Animals in Minnestoa had a chance to transport, Lock them up and throw away the key and put Michael vick in with them..

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  • BrendaB

    I just don’t get it! Are those of you that are defending, this neglectful abuser, bothering to look at the photographs posted in the article that you are writting under? If that is acceptable treatment in your opinion then you too, should not have a pet under your care! There is no defense for that! Would you call it healthy if you had to sleep in your stool and I’m sure that cover was soaked with urine…It sounds like a very lonely, foul, unhealthy, cold existence to me. I would be ashamed to even admit knowing her and seeing those conditions, then being able to walk away…and now defend her? All those that can defend her are no better than her for walking away and turning a blind eye on those poor animals. Shame on you!

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