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Professional dog handler Mary Wild faced the judge on 8 counts of animal cruelty and up to 8 years in prison for the gruesome death of 7 show dogs.


June 3, 2010 |

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief


After a year of delay during which Wild demanded, then declined a jury trial, the Missouri dog handler's bench trial began Thursday under Judge Raymond Dickhaner.  (If you missed the beginning and progress of this case, see previous coverage below.)


Wild was represented by Bradley Dede whose motion to have the case dismissed was denied. Jefferson County Missouri Assistant Prosecutor Katherine Tower was competent and relentless.  In our interview with Jefferson County Prosecutor Forrest K. Wegge he said “She has been charged with eight individual counts of animal abuse.  Each is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.”  It was the D.A.'s decision to charge Mary Wild that way, indicating a strong case from the beginning.


Mark Schnyder, KMOV, read coverage and called our office on Wednesday.  We gave him the backstory and agreed to a photo swap.  Schnyder then covered the first 90 minutes of the trial on Thursday including getting a short cell phone video of Mary Wild and her mother walking into the courthouse.  He gave TheDogPress permission to use the video but we declined.


DOG HANDLER MARY WILD CHARGED WITH DOG ABUSESchnyder was pulled off the story Friday which was just as well as KMOV appeared to favor political correctness and minimal coverage instead of old fashioned reportage.  St. Louis Today did better.  Describing Wild’s reaction to the gruesome deaths, her 17 year old assistant testified “They were talking about how much they were going to lose” referring to a cell phone conversation Wild had with her mother while on the way to the vet, approximately forty minutes after the teenage assistant discovered the horror.


Discrepancies remain as to what time the dogs were discovered, when Mary first called the vet (who testified) and why it took so long to get them to the vet.  Effort was made to revive the dogs but an hour might have made a difference had the dogs received immediate professional care. A lot of speculation but who knows what any of us would have done faced with the same situation?


The junior handler’s testimony seems to discredit Mary Wild’s story about checking the dogs at 4 AM.  The junior testified that the van was “like opening an oven”.  She said the fans were still running when she opened the sliding door to the van but that Mary Wild had closed all the windows except the passenger window which was cracked only enough to pass the power cord into the van.


The young assistant found her own Dalmatian dead, rigor mortis already setting in and his face covered in vomit.  The teenager cried on the stand as she described holding her dead dog’s body.


The top winning Akita bitch and a Siberian Husky were still alive.  The Akita died the next day; the Siberian survived.


Mary Wild took the stand this morning.  In her defense she refuted what her assistant had said, quibbling over whether the van door had been closed or "cracked" but it had little effect on the judge's assessment of the evidence.


Wild's attorney Brad Dede had said on Thursday that he intended to show that "all reasonable and legal precautions" were taken and that his client was not guilty of any crime.  We are told there were no witnesses on Wild's behalf.


It seems that Mary Wild failed to unload the dogs (and allow them to go potty, assuming they had been in that van since being loaded at the dog show grounds) but the big question is why did she fail to put them in the garage as was her custom according to testimony.  Wild said it was "too hot in the garage" but no one believes it would be hotter in a garage than it would be in a closed up van, especially with the sun beating down.


One of the many who called our offices said it was "typical of Mary ... she must have been tired after partying and it has always been Mary first, never about the dogs..."


Without exception, our feedback from the fancy is that Mary Wild should be given the maximum sentence.  Based on what has been described as a consistent behavior pattern, those who know her well said something like this was bound to happen. Several of our readers have also questioned the impropriety of Mary Wild keeping the teenage assistant out until 1:00 in the morning when they should have been home by 10 PM.


Observers reported that Mary's testimony was "ragged" and that "she tripped over her own lies" on several instances.  We could order the transcript but in the end, it makes no difference.


At 2:30 P.M. on Friday June 4th, Judge Raymond Dickhaner found Mary Wild guilty on all 8 counts. Marcia Hadley of Desoto MO and others report that her sentencing is set for July 1st at 9 a.m.


Barbara "BJ" Andrews BioWe also want to thank Betty Sconce, a former handler and breeder who lives in High Ridge.  Betty attended court and reported back to the fancy as proceedings were underway.


With this tragedy behind her, will now interview Monica Colvin, whose Akita bitch was among the dogs that died.  "Jersey" was the top bitch and ranked in the top 5 nationally when her exceptional career was cut short.  Monica is expecting a new litter at Gekko Akitas and thankfully, puppies have a way of easing our losses.


Unfortunately, this horror story did not end with a guilty verdict.  See below for coverage of her sentencing, AKC's unbelievable position, and other follow-up coverage of the Mary Wild case.


Get more information and dig for gold below.  Mary Wild Coverage in chronological order.

Dog Handler Charged - Mary Wild slept in comfort, 7 dogs died in her van.

Mary Wild Kills 8 Dogs - charged with 8 felony counts of Animal Abuse

Wild's Trial Begins facing the judge and up to 8 yrs prison.

Mary Wild Sentenced, some say a "Mockery Of Justice"

AKC Refuses to Suspend or comment on convicted handler Mary Wild

Interview with Monica Colvin, her top winning Akita among dogs that died.

Mary Wild's Probation Revoked

AKC Suspends Mary Wild For Life click for instant information ii Mary Wild AKC Suspended


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