Posted: Oct 18, 2012 6:57 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Oct 19, 2012 10:09 AM
BOULDER- It took a six-man, six-woman jury a little over 3½ hours of deliberation to find Mike Chilinski guilty on 91 counts of animal cruelty.
Jurors decided that after four days of listening to testimony, words from the man accused of the crimes were not convincing enough.
Upon taking the witness stand on his own behalf, Chilinski told the court why he didn't know exactly how many malamutes he had on his property.
"I really don't go by every pen and count individual dogs and I usually don't count puppies as dogs that I have because they are intended to be placed," he said.
Chilinski said he had been breeding puppies since the 1980's, and that the reason he continued to breed puppies was because it was his source of income.
He told the jury that times were tough and he was in the process of trying to obtain a $20,000 loan to continue his breeding business.
He stated he changed dog foods and cut back due to expenses: "Basically it had gone in the last year from $15 dollars a bag, which for a 40 pound bag, to $20 a bag at Murdoch's. And so that essentially meant $500 more a month to me."
But he disagreed with the scoring method used by veterinarians in determining the conditions of his dogs,
County Attorney Matt Johnson asked, "Do you agree that they were emaciated, that the veterinarians determined that?"
Chilinski replied, "I believe that they were off by one in the numbering chart but some of them were quite thin."
He said the water coming into his property was naturally rusty or high in iron, but still potable, and there were times his dogs contracted giardia as a result of that water.
"In hindsight, the puppy probably was more affected by the giardia that I wasn't aware of than the worming, and giardia is something that I occasionally fight in my kennel. that I treat with metrodiazonal when I find it," Chilinski said.
When the dogs would get hurt, Chilinski said he treated the animals himself, but if injuries were severe he would take them to the vet.
He testified that tough financial times coupled with his own medical problems hindered some of his actions.
Following the verdict, Chilinski was taken into custody and will remain in the Jefferson County jail.
The state has requested a pre-sentencing investigation which could take a few weeks.
Even though the trial regarding Chilinski's malamutes has come to an end, he still faces charges in federal court for the alleged growing of over 200 marijuana plants that were also seized from his property; that trial is set for next month.