Posted: Dec 20, 2012 2:55 PM by KBZK Media Center
Updated: Dec 20, 2012 4:25 PM
HELENA - A case in which a dog breeder was sentenced to 91 counts of animal cruelty this week was "one of the most egregious cases" the director of animal cruelty response for the Humane Society has ever seen, he said in a news release.
This week, Mike Chilinski of Jefferson City was sentenced to the Department of Corrections to 30 years with 25 of those years suspended. He was also ordered to turn over all his dogs to Jefferson County.
Today, the Humane Society of the United States and prosecuting attorney issued comments on the sentencing in a news release.
"This sentence should put other substandard breeders on alert that this kind of abuse clearly will not be tolerated by the community or the courts," said Gina Wiest, executive director of Lewis & Clark Humane Society. "In my 15 years working in animal welfare, I've never seen such a horrendous case, and I will never forget the day we rescued those dogs and the condition they were in. The system worked; the dogs had their day in court and were vindicated. We thank our friends at The Humane Society of the United States, without whose help- logistical and financial-we would have never been able to have done this rescue, and we stand together in hoping nothing like this ever happens again in Montana."
"This was one of the most egregious cases I've ever been involved with," said Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty response for The HSUS. Parascandola travelled from Maryland to testify at the sentencing. "The Humane Society of the United States is proud to partner with the excellent staff at the Lewis & Clark Humane Society, who did an outstanding job of caring for these animals in the last 14 months. This case is a good example of why we need stronger oversight of large-scale breeding facilities."
"I am very pleased with the sentence which includes a Department of Corrections term of 30 years with 25 suspended as well as the forfeiture of all of the dogs," said Jefferson County attorney Matthew Johnson, who prosecuted the case. "I am likewise humbly grateful for the assistance of the Lewis & Clark Humane Society and The Humane Society of the United States. The rescue and successful prosecution likely could not have been accomplished without these two organizations' assistance, due to the enormity of the case and the costs involved. Now, 14 months later, these dogs will be able to finally be placed in permanent homes."
Chilinski had been breeding malamute dogs since the 1980s. Last year, Jefferson County law enforcement found 140 malamutes and 200 marijuana plants at his home. The dogs were malnourished, sick and injured.
In October, a jury found Chilinski guilty of animal cruelty.
According to the release, the dogs will start to be placed in permanent homes and with rescue facilities in the next several weeks. Potential adopters must fill out an application and participate in a screening process. Call 442-1660 for more information.