Woman charged with animal cruelty in Missouri

Saturday, July 10, 2010 | 6:21 p.m. CDT

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — A woman who was jailed in Arkansas in an animal-cruelty case now faces charges in Missouri.

Tammy Christine Hanson, 43, was transferred from the Baxter County jail in Mountain Home, Ark., to the Lawrence County jail in southwest Missouri on Friday, where a jailer said she was being held in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Prosecutors there charged Hanson with three felony counts of theft of an animal and a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear in court in Mount Vernon.

Lawrence County Sheriff Ed Weisacosky was unavailable for comment, his office said.

Hanson was convicted in 2006 of 20 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Her husband, William Hanson, also was convicted on the animal-cruelty charges.

Authorities reported finding 500 neglected dogs, many that were rescued from Hurricane Katrina, on her property in Gamaliel near Mountain Home.

"It was absolutely horrible," Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said of the conditions where the dogs were penned. "You can't describe how bad it was."

The couple fled before their sentencing hearing. Tammy Hanson was arrested in July 2009 in Vermont, and William Hanson was taken into custody in Missouri in September.

Tammy Hanson appealed her conviction in Baxter County Circuit Court and requested a jury trial, but on Thursday she accepted a negotiated settlement, Montgomery said. In exchange for her dropping her appeals, she was given credit for time she had spent in custody.

Neither Prosecuting Attorney Ron Kincade of Mountain Home nor Lou Marczuk, Hanson's attorney, returned telephone messages seeking comment.

"This took five years," Montgomery said. "People have asked was it worth all the time for a misdemeanor. If you were there and actually saw that compound, you'd know it was the right thing to do."

Tammy Hanson will remain on supervised probation with the Baxter County District Court until she pays her fines, court costs and restitution.

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