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Weld Sheriff’s Office: Evidence doesn’t support charges in animal neglect case

Posted on 02/05/2021

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit has completed its investigation into animal cruelty claims at a property west of Greeley and has determined evidence is insufficient to support criminal charges.

On Sunday, animal control officers responded to a property in the 5400 block of F Street on a report of several farm animals sharing a pen with multiple deceased and decaying animals. The reporting party also claimed the animals that were alive were being neglected by the animal owner who, beyond the living conditions, was not providing adequate food, water or shelter.

Animal control officers visited the property multiple times this week and observed at least two dozen animals, including numerous chickens, ducks, potbellied pigs, goats and sheep, as well as a dog, a rabbit and a turkey. 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 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.

The sheriff’s office then contacted the State Veterinarian’s Office. A state veterinarian visited the property Friday afternoon and determined the animals that are still alive had acceptable body condition and were not in immediate danger of starvation. 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 also contacted the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as Planning and Zoning. Representatives from both agencies determined there were no violations they could impose regarding the living conditions of the animals.

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.

Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.