On February 22, 2012 at 3:30 PM Amy J Wilson will appear in Justice Court before Honorable Michael Swingley to change her plea from not guilty to guilty. The judge has reserved extra time after her plea and before sentencing to hear from neighbors who wish to address him on sentencing.
Below are the letters from neighbors (names removed) on how Amy’s crime has affected them and what they think her punishment should be. These letters will be read to the judge on February 22. Any neighbors or witnesses who wish to have their opinions heard by the judge are welcome to come to court or to leave a comment on this blog. If you want your comment to be included in the package of letters to the judge, you must leave your full name.
The change of plea and sentencing will take place on February 22 at 3:30 PM at:
Lewis and Clark County Justice Court
Lewis and Clark County Courthouse
228 Broadway, Room 102
Helena, Montana, 59601
Following are the letters which have already been written to the judge.
The appropriate punishment for Amy should be that she not be allowed to own or be in contact with dogs. It is apparent by the way she treated her dogs located on York road that she does not have a clue on the care and responsibility of pet ownership.
The punishment should fit the crime but you cannot stake a human to a tree with a short chain and deny them food water and shelter for days at a time. I think she should NEVER be able to own another pet and she should have to serve a little time in jail so she can think about her crimes. A couple hundred hours of community service at the HUMANE Shelter can teach her what she did wrong since she does not think she did anything wrong. Lastly she needs to write a letter of apology to her neighbors and all others who have suffered along with the animals by having to listen to them howl and cry for help, and those others who have lost sleep and have worried about the fate of the animals.
Having been a neighbor of Amy Wilson & seeing the abuse of these many dogs; i.e. no food, water, living in filth & having to eat their own waste to keep alive, left on their own for days and weeks at a time, it is my hope that she is never allowed to own any animals again.
Should you wish to hear more of what I saw please do not hesitate to contact me.
Today’s date: Jan. 3, 2012
To: Judge Swingley
Since the spring of 2011 I have observed dogs barking day and night in an urgent, stressful, panicky, loud-barking manner. I have driven by the house where these noises came from–which was across a field from my home–and observed the dogs tied up so close to a tree, sometimes tangled in loose tree branches, unable to get to their food and water.
The owner’s name is Amy Wilson.
I observed Amy W. driving into the property, staying on the average of ½ hour to an hour when she did drive out from Helena—where she lives—to York, MT. The dogs were left for over 6 days at time. She would average coming out every 5 to 6 days…the dogs left without shelter outside in the hot sun. And recently one dog was tied to the fence in the driveway with no shelter in -8’ weather. I do not know why the dog was still alive. The same dog was out there on two nights -4’ below zero. The dog yelped and howled and was alive again the following days. Can you imagine the horror of living nearby this and not able to do anything about it?
Amy Wilson would not be observed giving the dogs companionship or love.
When she would drive out for ½ hour to an hour every 5 or 6 days (never every day or never every other day) if she watered the dogs, in 15 minutes they could spill the water and then be out of water for days and days.
Neighbors complained and tried to water and feed the dogs, which were observed in their own poop. At first no signs of humans around, no “keep out” signs, nothing.
It has been horrible to live in York knowing these dogs were severely neglected, without food and water, companionship or love. It has been heart wrenching.
Now the dogs are gone. Where could they be at? Are they suffering in another rat hole?
On Sunday evening, New Years Eve, I got a call from Amy Wilson. She asked me about why I was on a witness list. I told her that I have not been officially called to be a witness and if I was called I would be for the dogs and I would tell the truth. She tried to convince me that she cared about her dogs and took care of them.
Over the phone Amy Wilson sounded desperate and spoke lies, lies about caring for the dog over the months.
I told Amy Wilson that I was not sure that she should be calling me and that it is not just one person: the whole neighborhood witnessed the severe neglect and howling the dogs made for months and months.
Amy Wilson sounded like an ill person, not mentally fit and a liar.
If you need me as a witness against Amy W. please call me.
I would like to see her not be able to have animals for a very long time. If she has charges filed against her I ask you on behalf of these animals who suffered for months to please fine her. Give Amy Wilson the maximum punishment under the law.
A neighbor in York who witnessed the suffering of Amy Wilson’s dogs
Please tell the judge that I feel she should not have any puppy raising privileges: as a breeder, as a puppy mill. She wasn’t there and some of the puppies died; the Humane Society found one with a broken leg. The other ones were malnourished—everybody else was feeding them. She should desist from ever doing that (having puppies.) Especially coming in from town and doing whatever the heck she was doing—it wasn’t feeding them or taking care of them; they were living in squalor. That’s how I feel.
Honorable Michael Swingley
Lewis and Clark Justice Court
I am requesting that you sentence Amy Wilson who is in your court charged with cruel confinement and failure to provide medical attention to never allowing her to have animals again.
I am a neighbor in the York area and witnessed first hand the cruelty that Amy showed toward her dogs. I would drive by and they would be tied up to a tree with the rope and chain so tightly wound around the tree they could not lie down, get water or food or get out of the elements. This is torture. If not for neighbors caring for these dogs they would have died a very cruel death. I could see no evidence that Amy would come and care for these animals more than a couple times a week.
I later learned that Amy would breed some of the dogs and sell them. It appears these dogs were only things to bring her money. I can’t understand her treatment of these dogs any other way.
These are my reasons for making my recommendations to you.
Thank you for listening,
In the case of Amy Wilson, I would like to request—if she is found guilty or pleads guilty—that her sentence includes:
a) to surrender all the animals she now has to the Lewis and Clark Humane Shelter
b) If she has already re-homed any of her animals, to give those names and addresses to the Humane Society and allow the Humane Society to either vet the new homes or to take those animals back
c) to be prohibited from owning any animals for the next 15 years
d) to be monitored for these conditions by a representative of the Humane Society
Here are the animals Amy currently owns and should surrender:
- Female Husky mix
- White Husky-Shepherd type
- Male bull terrier
- White Eskimo-Samoyed type
- Nine husky-pit bull mix puppies
Here are my reasons for requesting that you consider imposing these conditions.
- Amy does not have the capability of taking care of animals.
I’m a neighbor of hers in York and have observed at least 33 violations of Montana Code 45-8-211 repeatedly over a period of five months. She is currently charged with only two counts because Mr. Sealy only felt he could make a good case with two counts. However, the other four dogs and nine puppies she has have also been abused. They have been kept in abominable conditions for months—no food, no water, no exercise, no companionship, not able to stand or lie down, living in piles of their own waste.
It was reported to me by XXX that Amy had previous animal cruelty tickets or charges under her married name, Amy McNeely, in Helena.
Amy told YYY that she didn’t even know how many puppies she had until one was seized by the Sheriff—that is poor animal care.
- Amy doesn’t even know what good animal care is.
When I called her to ask if she wanted help taking care of the dogs, she told me her dogs were “perfectly happy.”
She told ZZZ that she had a “clean bill of health” from Animal Control.
She told WWW that she comes out to York to feed the dogs “whenever I can” (Amy lives in Helena and keeps the dogs in York) which is clearly inadequate care, yet Amy considers that good enough.
- Amy does not want to learn what good animal care is.
I tried to explain to Amy that dogs need water at all times as well as shelter and exercise; but Amy simply told me I was pestering her. When I told her that all the neighbors were concerned about the dogs suffering, instead of listening to my concerns she told me not to call her again.
After a number of visits from Animal Control, rather than changing the way she treats the dogs, Amy put up curtains and no trespassing signs so nobody could see how she was treating the dogs.
- Amy doesn’t really think she did anything wrong and will go right back to her behavior.
She has already tried to recover the puppy which is being held as evidence at the XXX veterinarian. According to YYY, a staff member there, Amy came to the vet’s office and demanded they return the puppy to her, saying also that she refused to pay any medical costs.
When I talked to her about taking care of the dogs, Amy accused me of being a spy for her ex-husband and said it was not about the dogs at all.
- Amy will lie about providing better care for her animals so she can get a light sentence.
Amy lied to ZZZ , saying that she was trying to get a fence installed for the dogs, but the fencing material has been sitting in her yard for almost a year.
When a representative of the bank inspected Amy’s property and declared it abandoned, there was still one dog abandoned in the yard. An hour later Amy lied to WWW, saying that she was taking good care of the animals.
Thank you for considering my request to order Amy Wilson never to own animals again.