Weld County Sheriff’s Office: Not enough evidence for charges in animal neglect case

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An animal at the Weld County property where the owner is accused of neglect. Credit: KDVR

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Weld County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday night that there is not enough evidence to support charges following accusations of animal neglect at a property near Greeley.

On Feb. 1, the sheriff’s office Animal Control Unit responded to the 5400 block of F Street on a report of “several farm animals sharing a pen with multiple deceased and decaying animals.”

The person who reported the property also said the living animals were being neglected by the owner, who was allegedly not providing adequate shelter, food or water.

Animal control officers visited the property a number of times this week, according to the sheriff’s office. The officers saw at least 24 animals in pens on the property.

“Animal control officers also observed at least seven deceased animals at varying stages of decomposition inside the pen with the others. On Friday, animal control officers returned to the property and met with the animal owner to seek consent to take possession of one of the deceased animals so a necropsy could be performed. The animal owner declined,” the sheriff’s office said. “The sheriff’s office then considered a search warrant to take possession of one of the deceased animals, but probable cause of a criminal violation could not be established.”

On Friday, FOX31 and Channel 2’s Deborah Takahara exchanged messages with the animals’ owner, who said, “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 sheriff’s office contacted the State Veterinarian’s Office, which visited the property on Friday.

The state vet said the living animals had “acceptable body condition” and were not in immediate danger of starving, the sheriff’s office said.

“The state vet also noted that although the living conditions of the pen aren’t desirable, it was of adequate size for the number of animals on the property,” the sheriff’s office said.

Finally, the sheriff’s office contacted the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment and the Planning Department. According to the sheriff’s office, both agencies said there were no violations they could impose regarding the animals’ living conditions.

“The sheriff’s office is aware of social media chatter advocating for the removal of the animals from the property by any means necessary. We would like to remind the public that anyone who is caught taking an animal from the property will be arrested and could face criminal charges,” the sheriff’s office said.

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