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WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – Animal activists are calling attention to a farm in Weld County where the conditions of a tenant’s animals are in question. They claim it is a case of animal neglect, but the animals’ owner says there is nothing wrong with them. 

Floss Blackburn took to social media to share information about the situation after being contacted by the owner of the property.

Blackburn said, “The live animals are all in a pen with dead animals, in various stages of decay. There definitely wasn’t any food available for the animals, I did not see water at that time available to them. It’s a pretty sad situation. There’s probably around 30 animals there if you include all the ducks, chickens. (A) ton of tiny, baby potbelly pigs, sheep, a few goats and a dog. They’re definitely not getting the care they need. Starving an animal, that’s torture, absolute torture. And when you have an owner that watches that happen, that walks out there every day and sees a dead animal or sees one dying and does nothing about it, that is a mental illness. That is not OK.” 

Blackburn, who founded Denkai Animal Sanctuary 17 years ago, has seen cases of abuse and neglect before. She is frustrated the Weld County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t taken the animals.

“We had a conversation with the sheriff’s department this morning basically saying their hands are tied and there’s absolutely nothing they can do to get those animals out of this situation,” she said.
“All they are required to have is food and water. They don’t even have to have shelter in Weld County. Essentially, their hands are tied and this needs to go to the legislative level, but the bottom line is: this group of animals is not going to get help by the local authorities because they can’t.” 

The animals’ owner responded to a text message by saying, “Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything to talk about as the animals are all doing fine per multiple ACO’s and Weld County Sheriff’s Deputies/employees today during their visit to update, as well as myself. No action is being taken against myself or my animals, as there is none to take.”

When asked if any of the animals were dead or malnourished, she texted, “I’m going to have to refer you to the Weld County Sheriff’s Department, W.C. Animal Control for their response on that, if they wish to do so. Again, I will state, for the last time, no action is being taken against me or my animals because my animals are fine and no action is warranted.” 

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office confirms there is an open investigation and it has received a significant number of complaints.  

Blackburn understands law enforcement is in a tough situation.

“They need evidence as to how dead animals on this property died. But at the same time, they can’t go in and get the dead animals to find out how they died, so nothing still happens,” she said.

Animal lovers have stepped up to offer to care for the animals, but the animal owner, who is renting this property, has apparently refused to allow anyone else to help or feed them.

Blackburn said, “Apparently this woman just keeps coming in and rectifying a little at a time, just enough to stay within the laws that exist.” She continued, “Every time I step into a situation like this, it’s mental illness or hoarding. The hoarding mentality — and in their mind, they aren’t doing anything wrong. They love these animals and these animals are everything to them and they will never, ever, ever give them up or let them go. They will let them starve to death and die before they will let those animals go.” 

Blackburn is worried about the animals, but she is also heartened by the outpouring of support she has seen over the past two days.

“At the very least, it brings recognition to what is happening and brings to light where things are lacking in the laws, rules and regulations. Thank goodness people care. It brings more awareness. I’m just very thankful that we have that amount of support for animals like this that need help. They don’t have a voice. If we aren’t their voice, they aren’t heard. We can’t let up. If we go away and let up, more die, more suffer,” she said.