A felony charge of poisoning animals was reduced this week to a misdemeanor crime of disturbing the peace.
Kevin E. Wilson, a 52-year-old Hailey man originally charged with poisoning three dogs in November 2013 in the Della View area of west Hailey, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Blaine County Magistrate Court to the disturbing the peace charge. Judge Daniel Dolan gave Wilson a suspended 30-day jail sentence and placed him on unsupervised probation for six months. According to court records, no fine or court fee was assessed against the defendant.
Wilson was not arrested when the felony charge was filed against him in March and had remained free on his own recognizance.
The case against Wilson stemmed from an incident on Nov. 11, 2013, when three dogs became sickened, allegedly from meat they ate that they found in a driveway on War Eagle Drive. Hailey police reported that all three animals recovered after being treated at Sun Valley Animal Center. Stomach contents from one of the dogs were sent for analysis to MEDTOX Scientific laboratory in St. Paul, Minn. According to police, the sample contained a “moderate” amount of Tylenol, which contains acetaminophen, a pain reliever that can be toxic to animals.
Police reported that Wilson admitted to placing the meat in the driveway but not to putting any poisonous substance in it.
Defense attorney Brian Elkins said Tuesday that his client was innocent of any wrongdoing but that he pleaded guilty to the disturbing the peace charge to put an end to the case. Elkins said he was able to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor “because they don’t have any evidence of poisoning.”
“A moderate amount of Tylenol was present in vomit as analyzed by a lab, but who knows where it came from,” Elkins said.
Elkins wrote in a June 10 letter to the Idaho Mountain Express that the “meat that the dogs ate was given to Mr. Wilson by a friend who works at a restaurant who brought him scraps to feed his own dogs. Mr. Wilson did not believe there was anything wrong with the meat nor did he add Tylenol or other poisonous substances to the meat.”
Elkins stated that because of a story regarding the matter in the June 4 edition of the Express, Wilson has been unjustly “shunned by friends and members of the community.”
“With this matter concluded, I hope Mr. Wilson can stand tall and look the members of the community in the eye and all of us can believe that he did not intentionally poison or harm animals,” he wrote.
Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas, whose office filed the felony charge against Wilson, explained why the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in an email sent Wednesday to the Express.
“We were unable to prove that Wilson actually put out the poison that the one dog tested positive for,” Thomas stated. “All we had was he said he put out meat with ‘marijuana sauce’ on it. Nothing came back from the lab matching that description. We had no tests from the meat to compare to. It’s the best we could do.”