Indictment of investigator probed in animal neglect case
BY LAUREN FITZPATRICK Sun-Times Media May 29, 2012 11:16PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:45PM
The owner of a Southland animal sanctuary on Tuesday said she is seeking more information about the federal felony charges against the lead investigator in her animal neglect case.
An attorney for Dawn Hamill will subpoena records from the ATF and FBI investigation that led to the recent indictment of Larry Draus, the key investigator in Hamill’s case, her attorney Purav Bhatt said during a lengthy hearing in the Cook County courthouse in Markham.
But evidence obtained during the search of Hamill’s property, Dazzle’s Painted Pasture, 5555 W. 175th St. near Tinley Park, will stand, even though the warrant was based primarily on Draus’ allegations, her new trial judge, Anna H. Demacopoulos, ruled.
Hamill stood trial in March before a different judge on misdemeanor animal neglect charges. But before it concluded, a federal indictment against Draus was announced, accusing the Cook County sheriff’s animal crimes investigator of using his badge to help his son sell cigarettes without tax stamps. Hamill’s case thus ended in a mistrial. In April, Judge Christopher J. Donnelly recused himself after receiving an anonymous letter regarding the case.
Painted Pastures was raided in February 2011 by Draus and his partner, who said they found eight puppies in an unheated garage and a dead miniature pony and dead Himalayan cat elsewhere on the property.
Hamill denies all the charges, calling the tipster who sparked the investigation a disgruntled employee.
She is to return to court July 9, when a new trial date may be set.