Greeley Police Seize 15 Dogs From Back Of U-Haul

Police Warned Owner Three Times Before Confiscating Dogs

Greeley Police seized 15 dogs from the back of a U-Haul van, after warning the owner three times in the last two weeks and ticketing her with inhumane treatment of animals.

"Fortunately, the dogs are still in good condition, and now that they're in the shelter, we can see if we can find practical ways to care for them," said Lt. Carl Alm with the Greeley Police Department.

7NEWS Reporter Jaclyn Allen tried to talk to Lynn Robbins, but she would only say that all the reports were lies.

"We're going to have an attorney take care of it," said Robbins.

Last week, police said they received a complaint and found the dogs in the back of the van with its window rolled up despite sweltering summer heat.

During the incident on 24th Street, police cited the van's driver, Lynn Robbins, with 15 counts of unlawful confinement of animals in a vehicle and failure to provide humane treatment.

But officers let Robbins keep the dogs.

Alm told 7NEWS Monday officers didn't seize the dogs previously because Robbins said she was in the process of moving them.

However, 7NEWS found her Sunday with dogs still in the rental van.

"She had a somewhat plausible story about how she was caring for the dogs, where they had come from," Alm said. "She was cited for offense and allowed to keep the dogs, but it was a judgment call."

Police first encountered the dogs on Aug. 4 when officers responded to a complaint. Officers found 14 Pekingese dogs left unattended in the rental van with an interior temperature of 107 degrees, according to a police report.

Robbins explained her situation to police and officers decided to cite her, but let her keep the dogs.

Two days later, though, police said they got another report and caught Robbins with at least six dogs in the van.

"Her story was she got the dogs in Arizona from a friend and was distributing them to local shelters," Alm said.

Again, officers let her go, police said.

7NEWS checked with local shelters and no one had records of Robbins dropping the dogs off.

Elaine Hicks, the executive director of the Humane Society of Weld County, said she had suspicions about why Robbins was in Greeley.

"Greeley doesn't have an ordinance preventing people from selling dogs out of the back of their cars or in parking lots," said Hicks. "That's something we would like to see changed in this community."

Neighbors said they are certain Robbins was trying to sell the dogs.

Kala Conway said she was approached by a man with Robbins a few days ago, and he pointed at the U-Haul.

"He asked if I would like to buy a Shih Tzu mix, between two and five years old for $50 to $75," said Conway. "I thought it was odd that they would be selling dogs out of the back of a van."

Police said they again came into contact with Robbins on Saturday when she brought five dogs to a groomer.

The dogs were inspected and reported to be unmaintained, police said. But officers decided to allow Robbins to keep the animals because she said she received the dogs like that and was trying to improve their conditions.

People working in the area don't believe Robbins is taking the dogs to shelters.

7NEWS found Robbins Sunday in a parking lot where neighbors tell us she has been off and on for two weeks, and she denied having dogs, even though they were visible and barking.

"I am purchasing a house right now," Robbins said, as she drove away, leaving the side doors to the van still open. Numerous dogs and cages were still inside the van.

"On the spectrum of whether to seize the dogs sometimes it’s really close and I would say this was really close, but it didn’t quite get over the edge," Alm said. "But again when we get somebody like this, that’s been cited for something like this, that would be a call where they’ll get extra scrutiny."

Police said if they catch Robbins violating the law again, they will have a zero tolerance policy.

A U-Haul spokeswoman said Robbins is scheduled to return the van Tuesday, but that animals are not allowed in the back of U-Haul vans. The spokeswoman said Robbins will no longer be allowed to rent from the company.

Robbins is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 12 about the animal care citations.

She has applied for a bond hearing to get the dogs back, but shelter officials said it would cost $750 per dog.

Police said they don't think her primary motivation was to sell the dogs, but that she might have come to Greeley because there is no limit to the number of animals a person can have.

"We run into this occasionally where people just acquire too many animals, and as I understand some of her statements, some of the animals she had taken in weren't being properly cared for. She just eventually acquired 15 dogs," said Alm.

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