Saturday, November 7, 2009

Animal abuser sentenced. But was justice served for Katrina dogs?

November 6, 2:37 PMNew Orleans Pet Rescue Scene ExaminerTeresa Rowell

Tammy Hanson was sentenced in Arkansas' Baxter County District Court on November 4, 2009 for 20 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. The judge imposed a 1-year sentence in the county jail and $10,000 in fines.

So who is Tammy Hanson and what significance does she have to Louisiana?

The name tracks back five years to animal rescuers of Hurricane Katrina.

Hanson's Arkansas property, where she operated Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) animal sanctuary, was raided by the Baxter County Sheriff's Department in 2005.

400 to 500 dogs were found in deplorable conditions; some that had been rescued during Hurricane Katrina and transported there only to be left in the cages they arrived in for days covered in urine and feces.

Some dogs were found dead in the pens as pictured above. (Source: For Pit's Sake)

Hanson and her husband, William, were convicted of animal cruelty and released on bond.

Tammy Hanson then fled authorities but was found in Vermont in September of 2009 using another name.

Checking on the history of this abuse case revealed the following.

In a story written on the For Pits' Sake website, founder Kris Crawford says she was contacted on October 5, 2005 and asked to take in the remaining 300 rescued pit bulls left at Lamar Dixon in Gonzales, Louisiana where animals were being housed during rescue efforts.

When Crawford responded that she did not have the facility to properly handle them, she was told that she would receive a "significant amount of money to build a sanctuary."

Due to the time factor involved in finding property and building a shelter, Crawford asked Christine Penrod, the caller who was organizing charter flights out for the rescues, if Crawford could, instead, contact her colleagues in pit rescue to try to relocate them to already established places.

The next day, Penrod called Crawford back and said that Tammy Hanson, supposedly a pit bull expert who operated Every Dog Needs A Home (EDNAH) in Gamaliel, Arkansas, would accept the dogs.

Not recognizing EDNAH, Crawford made a call to Tammy Hanson, introduced herself, offered her help and asked Hanson for references. To which Hanson replied, "I don't give a f... who you are, I am getting a million dollars to take these dogs and I don't have to answer to you or anyone" and promptly hung up the phone.

Crawford's web site says some dogs were sent to EDNAH before she and others could complete their investigation in to conditions there.

According to a 2005 news article, Pasado's Safe Haven, with annual revenues of over 2 million dollars according to, also sent 50 dogs to EDNAH before even checking to see if it was a reputable shelter.

Questions still remain as to whether Hanson received money from animal welfare groups for taking in these animals.

Can we say that animal welfare groups "saved" these rescued animals by bringing them to EDNAH?

Was the sentencing just and fair?

The whereabouts of the animals from the property has not be discovered as yet.