Animal Protection Chief Tweets Against Animal Rights

U.S. Humane Society Criticizes Posts

His job is to protect animals in Colorado, but 7NEWS has discovered that Scot Dutcher has "tweeted" prolifically against many animal rights efforts.

Dutcher is the chief of the Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Bureau and is the lead investigator in the state's animal cruelty cases.

Officials said many of those posts were made on state time, using state computers.

In the last two years, Dutcher has posted nearly 5,000 tweets, many of which criticize animal rights cases and the Humane Society of the United States.

That group is now questioning whether his opinions may prevent him from doing his job.

"Colorado animals and taxpayers deserve better than this," said Holly Tarry, the state director of the Humane Society of the United States. "A state employee charged with protecting animals that clocks in and spends his day churning out anti-animal protection tweets."

She points to one tweet that compares the inability to shoot owned animals to the inability to destroy inanimate objects.

Another tweet questions how much is spent to prevent child abuse versus animal abuse.

"I think it's one thing to be concerned with child poverty, but to pit it against animal protection is a really strange position for the chief of animal protection to take," said Tarry.

In another tweet, the state's principle animal cruelty investigator criticized the felony charge for a woman who taped a dog to the fridge.

"What Scot said was his own opinion, and it doesn't reflect department policy," said Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Jim Miller. "It wasn't authorized, we didn't know about it, and it was something that we spoke with him about."

He said they are still investigating, but he sees no reason Dutcher can't still do his job.

"There really should be no reason why organizations shouldn't trust him. He's always acted in an extremely professional manner," said Miller.

Miller said they looked through approximately six months of tweets and that about half of them were posted on state time with state resources.

They have sent an e-mail to employees at the Department of Agriculture reminding them about social networking policy.