PARKER, Colo. (KDVR) — A group of people protested outside of Parker Town Hall to bring attention to a dog they say is being unfairly held.

Holding signs reading “Zion,” the protesters say the 3-year-old mastiff mix is hardly a dangerous dog, despite more than one incident.

“Zion was involved with an ‘aggressive dog’ incident last year,” said Josh Hartsfield, a protester who doubles as a law clerk for the Animal Law Firm.

“He slipped out of his owner’s care, bit another dog. It wasn’t serious, you know. No dog died. It wasn’t the kind of thing where, you know, people had to go to the hospital,” Hartsfield said.

A protest sign that says "DON'T WAREHOUSE ZION!" with a picture of a mastiff mix dog next to it
Protesters outside Parker Town Hall advocated for the release of a dog that’s been held in a shelter since November by court order. (KDVR)

Zion has been held at the Buddy Center in Castle Rock, a shelter under the Denver Dumb Friends League umbrella.

Protesters say he has been there since November. They want him released as his owner continues to go through the legal process. They also want an update from the Dumb Friends League on his condition.

Dumb Friends League responds

A Dumb Friends League spokesperson released a video showing a dog they say is Zion, playing at the Buddy Center with a staff member.

The Denver Dumb Friends League released the following statement:

We understand that misinformation is being spread online regarding three-year-old Mastiff mix, Zion, who is currently being housed on a court hold at the Buddy Center, a shelter of the Dumb Friends League, in Castle Rock. Our community’s advocacy for Zion shows how much animals matter to all of us. Unfortunately, much of the information being provided to the public by other parties is incorrect.

The Buddy Center has a contract to provide shelter for animals that are in the court system in certain counties, which is the case with Zion.

The Dumb Friends League:
• Does NOT prosecute these cases.
• Is NOT a party to the case.
• Does NOT have any authority to make decisions about releasing any animal under a court hold.
• Is NOT profiting from Zion’s care. Through our contract with the county, the Buddy Center is reimbursed a portion of the daily boarding costs associated with housing and caring for Zion.

The Dumb Friends League is committed to providing safe shelter, enrichment, veterinary attention, and tender, loving care to every animal for whom we are responsible. Zion is doing well because of the extra attention he is receiving from League staff. He is walked and played with daily and provided with vital mental and physical enrichment. Zion experienced some health issues early in his stay, all of which have been resolved due to the medical care provided by our expert veterinary staff.

We know that a shelter is not the ideal living situation for a dog, and we look forward to the day that Zion is no longer mandated to be in the shelter.

Thank you for your continued support and compassion for the animals and humans in our community.

Dumb Friends League