Horses feed at a property on Road P in Montezuma County on this file photograph. As half of a civil grievance, in early May the Colorado Department of Agriculture seized greater than 100 animals from the property alleging mistreatment in violation of the Colorado Animal Protection Act. (The Journal file)
Civil grievance alleges neglect, mistreatment of livestock and companion animals; injunction issued towards couple
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has seized greater than 100 animals from a Montezuma County property citing mistreatment and neglect in violation of the Colorado Animal Protection Act.
On May 5-7 the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Protection Bureau executed a search warrant for the property of Sharon and (*100*) Ward at 31104 Road P to examine and take custody of 110 animals, which included horses, goats, sheep, pigs, canines, cattle, rabbits, cats, turkeys, geese and chickens.
The animals have been efficiently taken to rehabilitation services, and supplied medical and dietary care, stated Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.
The civil grievance was initiated by the Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Attorney General’s workplace following an investigation. No legal prices have been filed, Nowlin stated.
“It is a civil case and investigation brought by the state,” he stated.
At a three-hour Montezuma County court docket listening to May 17, District Chief Judge Doug Walker issued a preliminary injunction requested by the Attorney General’s workplace that prohibits the Wards from proudly owning or tending to any animals.
“The evidence is brutally clear the animals are living in horrendous conditions,” Walker stated in granting the injunction. “You can never allow animals to try and survive under these conditions. I make a finding (the defendants) are not fit to own or possess animals.”
The grievance identifies the Wards because the homeowners of the animals both individually or collectively.
According to the May 6 civil grievance, Taylor Peterson, lead investigator for the Bureau of Animal Protection, and veterinarian Courtney Diehl, of the Denver Dumb Friends League, carried out an inspection of the animals and quarters, which led to their seizure and injunction.
According to findings within the Department of Agriculture civil grievance:
- A big quantity of animals didn’t have entry to water, and people who did, the water was soiled. There was no feed obtainable for almost all of the livestock to feed on of their pens.
- “Body condition scores” for almost all of horses was between 1 and three out of 9.
- Animal pens have been stuffed with manure, together with these of the rabbits, leaving them will little headroom.
- The poultry have been trying to find water, exhibiting aggression towards each other, and had total poor physique situation.
- A roan gelding had a physique situation rating of 1 out of 9.
- Two canines have been tied to separate posts, one of which was wrapped so tightly round a pole it may transfer only some ft. There have been one other six canines, 5 of which have been puppies, in a kennel, and none had entry to water. The puppies had distended bellies.
- Approximately 70% of the equines exhibited constant lameness and had overgrown ft; three had untreated and contaminated wounds.
- Of the goats and sheep, many weren’t capable of bear weight on all 4 ft and have been visibly lame. All have been visibly skinny with distinguished ribs, backbone and pelvis.
- The majority of the swine have been both underweight or lame with overgrown ft and tusks. All have been housed in pens in substantial disrepair.
- The rabbits have been huddled and inactive in small cages stuffed with manure, and most have been with out meals or water.
The civil grievance alleges the shortage of animal care is a violation of the Colorado Animal Protection Act. It doesn’t embody legal prices.
“Defendants have mistreated, neglected, or abandoned livestock … and companion animals … that endangers the animals’ lives or health,” the grievance states.
On May 6, whereas the search warrant and seizure was executed, Judge Walker issued a brief restraining order towards the Wards which prevented them from interfering with the search, inspection and seizure, or from transferring animals from the situation.
During the listening to, Sharon Ward’s protection legal professional Richard Simms stated there was no proof that she owns the animals and he or she doesn’t declare possession.
Billy Seiber, first assistant for the Attorney General’s Agriculture Unit, responded that the property is owned by Ward and “management is within her hands.”
Additional hearings on the case in District Court are pending, however have but to be scheduled.
Sharon Ward has confronted earlier animal neglect prices and investigations, in response to court docket and Montezuma and Dolores sheriffs reviews.
On Jan. 2 the Dolores County sheriff eliminated six horses from a snowy pasture close to Groundhog out of concern for his or her welfare. Ward and her daughter, Lousinda Ward, have been ticketed within the case and charged by the District Attorney on suspicion of animal cruelty. Sharon Ward denies possession of the horses and has pleaded not responsible. The case is ready for trial in Dolores County Court on Aug. 1. The six horses have been voluntarily surrendered to the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office by Lousinda Ward, and have been positioned at a protected location.
On July 22, Nowlin served a search warrant for the Wards’ property and seized 14 canines for alleged mistreatment. The state veterinarian inspected the well being of the livestock and dominated a seizure was not required. Upon enchantment by the Wards, the canines have been returned, besides one which had a collar harm. An animal neglect cost for that animal was dropped for lack of possible trigger, in response to court docket information.
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