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Woman Set To Go On Trial For Squalid Animal Shelter

MARKHAM, Ill. (CBS) -- A woman charged with animal cruelty and neglect goes on trial in Markham Monday.

As WBBM Newsradio's Dave Marsett reports, Dawn Hamill, 42, the owner of Dazzles Painted Pastures animal shelter in Tinley Park, was arrested in February 2011 after a raid.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Dave Marsett reports


Authorities say they found more than 100 animals either malnourished or dead. Barns, trailers and sheds were often unheated and left without food or water, police said.

Sheriff's officers found a dead 3 1/2-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 the canine virus 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.

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

In addition to cruelty and neglect, Hamill was charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

Police also said they got several calls from people complaining about the shelter.

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

Hamill was reported to have said when she was arrested, she was a "law-abiding tax-paying citizen" who took in animals nobody wanted.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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