- Written by Mike Martin
"I asked to speak on behalf of Sampson," 6th Ward Candidate told judge
COLUMBIA, 3/22/12 (Interview) -- "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, mmmm, yeah." Apparently, somebody needed to remind Sampson the Dog of these famous lyrics from the Sammy Davis, Jr. Baretta theme song.
Sixth Ward Columbia City Council Candidate Bill Tillotson, 60, says his dog -- Sampson -- is at fault for his 2004 arraignment, guilty plea, and subsequent year-long probation. Tillotson explained the situation to the Columbia Heart Beat, and we've reprinted his response with light editing.
Mr. Tillotson: The open public record shows Boone County Case #4CR164722, State vs. William A. Tillotson, Junior, from back in 2004.
I’m named in that case because they couldn’t exactly charge our family’s golden retriever, Sampson.
You see, Sampson wandered away from home. Sampson didn’t take his leash and he didn’t invite us along on his unauthorized breakout from his pen. Sampson was picked up by Animal Control. The Animal Control staff works hard and does a great job, and I’m sorry they had to mess with Sampson’s wandering.
It’s true – my dog Sampson should not have been wandering without a leash with me holding the other end. The judge was inclined to fine me $350. I asked to speak on behalf of Sampson.
The judge allowed me to state that Sampson was a good dog and this was Sampson’s first offense. I apologized to the judge on behalf of my dog and myself. I promised my dog would not do it again.
The judge was kind, and he reduced the fine to $50, on the condition Sampson didn’t wander again for a year. Sampson couldn’t come to court, so the judge told me I was on a one-year probation and that if Sampson did wander again without his leash with me on the other end, there would be much bigger fines.
Sampson committed no further offenses. Thankfully, too, because letting your dog wander without a leash is a misdemeanor. And when a dog isn’t as sweet as Sampson, it can be a real problem. Sampson is gone now. He was very sweet and he didn’t often get into trouble, though the squirrels around our place may have another view.
Sampson lived a good life. He brought us a lot of joy and we loved him. We still miss Sampson.
The record shows I did the right thing – I acknowledged my responsibility, I paid the fine, and I apologized for my dog’s wandering.
I did what the judge ordered me to do. So did Sampson. But I’m from Missouri, and we love our dogs, even when they misbehave. And we don’t think it’s right when our dogs get dragged into the mud at election time. They do just fine getting into the mud on their own.
So quit attacking my dog. Let’s get serious.
It’s time for Barbara Hoppe to be as accountable and up-front as I was eight years ago about something much more serious than a wandering golden retriever. Facts are facts, and all of Barbara Hoppe’s complaining cannot change the facts.
My campaign ads are based on verified public records and independent news reports. They are factual. Barbara Hoppe cannot defend her record of helping her political pals. She is obviously on the hot seat for her long record as a politician.
Barbara Hoppe has a lot of explaining to do. She has to explain why she took sides against the college students she is supposed to represent. She has to explain why she aggressively helped her political donors squeeze a $100,000 payoff for their group.
She has to explain why she made an unannounced, unnecessary City Council motion after a five and one-half hour Council meeting to punish the college students, when the usual administrative process was working. It happened, and I'm disappointed in Barbara Hoppe.
She talks the talk about openness and transparency. But when it means helping her political donors, she doesn’t walk the walk. If I’m elected Ward 6 Councilman, I’ll represent everyone with fairness, openness, integrity and accountability. And I’d appreciate their vote for a change on April 3.
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