Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18708
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Wednesday, Oct 12, 2011

County: Jefferson

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA, Felony Non-CTA
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Mike Chilinski

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a Jefferson City man Wednesday morning on several felony drug citations and animal cruelty charges.

Deputies found more than 160 Malamute dogs with little to no water and their kennels full of feces. During their search, deputies also found a marijuana operation with more than 200 plants.

Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies were called to Mike Chilinski's residence on Malamute Way, Jefferson City in September for a report of animal neglect. The sheriff's department had received reports of animal cruelty there in previous years, but during the most recent, a man reported that he and his wife went to Chilinski's residence to purchase a puppy.

The man reported that he was "horrified by the conditions the dogs were living in," according to court documents. The man said there were more than 100 dogs in make-shift kennels with little to no water and the kennels were full of dog feces.

Mike Chilinski faces charges of felony criminal production or manufacturing of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture along with a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.

Authorities say several additional felony animal cruelty charges are pending.

The seizure and transportation of the dogs was completed with assistance from the Humane Society of the U.S., the Lewis and Clark Humane Society, more than 20 volunteers and several local veterinarians.

All of the dogs - including about 20 puppies and 12 pregnant dogs - are being taken care of at the Lewis and Clark Humane Society. State director for the U.S. Humane Society says Chilinski sold puppies - some of which were very sick - through the internet and newspaper ads, claiming to offer show-quality dogs.

Many of the dogs were underweight, had parasites and untreated wounds. A spokesperson for the Lewis and Clark Humane Society says the dogs are now resting comfortably and settling in.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can send it to:

Project Malamute
c/o Lewis & Clark Humane Society
PO Box 4455
Helena, MT 59604

The Lewis & Clark Humane Society has taken the malamutes into its care in Helena and already created a web page with information, including this overview of the dogs:

Right now they are resting comfortably, receiving food, shelter and water and plenty of loving care! Until we hear from the Jefferson County's attorney's office, they are unable to be adopted. Please check this website frequently and we will update you as we have more information. If you are interested in volunteering, please call Jessie at 442-1660.


Case Updates

The fate of more than 160 malamutes seized during a raid of an alleged puppy mill remains unknown.

A hearing began Wednesday in order for District Judge Loren Tucker to hear testimony from both sides regarding an animal welfare petition. The hearing and testimony will continue on Nov. 23 in Boulder.

The dogs belong to Mike Chilinski, a 51-year-old Jefferson County man who faces 91 counts of felony cruelty to animals and drug charges. The dogs are currently being taken care of by the Lewis and Clark County Humane Society after being seized last month.

Testimony was slated to begin in the morning, but the court became backlogged with other cases and the hearing did not start until the afternoon. Witnesses called by Jefferson County Attorney Matt Johnson included Sheriff Craig Doolittle and the director of the local Humane Society.

In court documents, Johnson laid out evidence he says points to the neglect of the dogs. Out of 139 dogs at the kennels, 114 dogs were well underweight, he said.

Chilinski failed to provide food and water to the animals, which were confined in a cruel manner and not protected against disease and parasites, Johnson alleges.

Chilinski pleaded not guilty to all of the felony charges last month.

When asked for comment on the case in the courthouse, Chilinski said that he was ordered by the judge not to discuss the charges and petition.

After the conclusion of testimony, Tucker will consider the propriety of returning the animals to the owner, given the alleged facts regarding abuse or neglect as well as the extent of the animals' disease, injury or suffering. The availability of funding to provide for the dogs' treatment, care and shelter also will be discussed.

Johnson is asking for an order to require a bond to provide for the animals' care until a resolution is reached on the animal cruelty charges, permission to euthanize any severely diseased or suffering dogs and the continued retention of the malamutes in a shelter.

While most of the evidence related to the dogs has already been secured, Johnson said the county still has an obligation to care for the dogs. The 161 malamutes " including pregnant dogs " were taken from Chilinski's home in Jefferson City on Oct. 12.

Some of the expense could be recovered if Chilinski were convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay restitution as part of a sentence.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office began investigating at least five separate complaints of animal neglect regarding Chilinski starting in February. Deputies found a large number of marijuana plants during an initial search on the cruelty to animal charges. Two felony drug charges were filed after a subsequent search.

The dogs are being housed in an undisclosed 10,000 square-foot indoor facility that is expected to cost $11,000 a month to rent, not including food or medical costs.

Donations to care for the animals are expected to run out the first of December.

The Lewis & Clark Humane Society has created a web page with information about how people can help - visit Project Malamute to learn more.
Source: helenair.com - Nov 10, 2011
Update posted on Nov 10, 2011 - 7:52AM 

References

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