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William Hanson sentenced, gets less jail time, same fines and restitution as wife

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 - 9:49 AM
William Hanson sentenced, gets less jail time, same fines and restitution as wife

JANET NELSON Bulletin Staff Writer November 26, 2009

William Henry Hanson, 45, formerly of Gamaliel and a fugitive for nearly four years on 20 local charges of animal cruelty, was sentenced Wednesday in Baxter County District Court to eight months in jail.

Hanson's wife, Tammy Christine Hanson, 43, had received one year in jail, the maximum penalty, on the same charges Nov. 4 in the same court.

Prosecutor Ronald Kincade said William Hanson's case was "a different situation" from his wife's because he did not have any previous conviction, or any additional pending charges here, as his wife does.

Hanson's attorney, deputy public defender Andrew Bailey said he had agreed to the eight-month sentence, stipulating testimony given against Tammy Hanson in her sentencing hearing and withholding presenting any testimony on William Hanson's behalf.

Bailey said William Hanson "is contrite for his part that led to the charges and convictions." The district judge, Van Gearhart, said in his order that the prosecution believed that Hanson is not as culpable as his wife, Tammy Hanson.

William Hanson received credit for 60 days served since his Sept. 22 capture in Missouri. Both Hansons received identical fines, court costs, and orders for restitution: a $500 fine and $150 in court costs on each count, totaling $13,000, and $5,000 for each person in restitution to the Humane Society of the United States for the cleanup of the Gamaliel compound, care and relocation of the animals.

The 20 animal cruelty charges arose from the couple's operation of a compound at Gamaliel called Every Dog Needs a Home where local law enforcement officials found nearly 500 animals in "deplorable condition" in October 2005. Some were dogs that had been rescued from Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The couple was found guilty of the animal cruelty charges Jan. 16, 2006, but then fled this area and did not show up for sentencing Feb. 23, 2006. They were at-large until Tammy Hanson was arrested and held in Caledonia County, Vermont in July. Hanson was not arrested at that time and remained in Vermont until he did not show up for a Sept. 14 hearing concerning care of animals at the Vermont property.

Gearhart also set a $100,000 cash bond if Hanson appeals the conviction or sentence, terming him a "flight risk," and prohibited him from owning, possessing or being in contact either directly or indirectly, with any animal.

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