Judge Rules Humane Society Allowed to Keep Rescued Malamutes until Trial

Chilinski Not Allowed to Sell Dogs While Court Case in Pending

January 25, 2012

Helena: Montana’s Fifth Judicial District Court in Jefferson County ruled yesterday that the Lewis and Clark Humane Society (LCHS) should be allowed to continue to house and care for over 161 rescued Malamutes until the results of owner Mike Chilinski's animal cruelty trial, which is scheduled for May.

The judge had previously considered letting Mr. Chilinski sell some of the dogs. The Humane Society and the County Attorney protested and filed a motion with the court to reverse that decision. Judge Loren Tucker released his opinion yesterday afternoon. Among other things, it stated “There is no evidence that returning the dogs to Chilinski would change the circumstances which gave rise to their seizure.”

Read the full court finding here (pdf) >>


The judge also mandated Mr. Chilinski should post a bond of $2,000 that would be applied towards the expense of caring for the dogs, estimated to be approximately $12,000 every month.

LCHS Executive Director Gina Wiest said, “We are extremely pleased that the Court ruled to let us continue to care for the dogs. As Judge Tucker noted in his opinion, they are ‘thriving’ and are in a safe, secure and loving environment. Letting any of the dogs go back to their prior home would have been to return them to the very environment in which they needed rescue in the first place!”

Wiest noted that donations continue to arrive to help care for the dogs, and that the Humane Society of the United States offered to supplement any additional funds that were needed to care for the dogs until the case was resolved. Donations can be made electronically at

s or via mail at PO Box 4455, Helena, MT 59604