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More than 150 animals in Montezuma County rescued from 'extreme case of animal neglect'

About 60 of the animals are now available for adoption
horses in sunlight
Posted at 2:38 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 16:38:24-04

CORTEZ, Colo. — More than 150 animals were removed from a property in Montezuma County as part of a mistreatment investigation, and about 60 are now available for adoption.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) removed the animals following an investigation and after the Montezuma County District Court determined their health was in danger.

The investigation started with a search of the private property on May 5. BAP agents found 77 head of livestock, 35 birds, 30 small animals, and 15 companion animals (which includes dogs, cats and other non-livestock species), according to the Department of Agriculture. All of the animals were in conditions that threatened their health. Most of them did not have access to water or food, and had untreated medical problems.

The companion animals were immediately removed from the property with the help of the Colorado Humane Society and a local animal shelter. They were brought to facilities where they can begin healing and eventually be adoptable, the Department of Agriculture said.

The following day — May 6 — the Montezuma County District Court granted a request from the Department of Agriculture to remove the livestock.

In addition, the court issued a temporary restraining order and ordered a hearing to determine if the owner should be able to keep the animals and if they should be prohibited from owning any other animals. On May 17, a judge decided the animals would not be returned and issued a preliminary injunction preventing the person from future animal ownership until a trial could be scheduled, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The livestock were removed from the property on May 7 and relocated to a short-term holding facility.

Some of the animals were brought to the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Cortez. Local volunteers also helped with temporary housing.

Dr. Rebecca Niemiec, manager of the BAP, called this an "extreme case of animal neglect."

“By closely collaborating with the local law enforcement agency and animal health experts, we responded quickly to a report of neglect and investigated the situation," Niemiec said. "A judge has determined the state must act to protect the well-being of these animals and we are working with animal health partners to ensure appropriate care is being administered to them.”

Among the rescued animals are several that are ready to be adopted through the Dumb Friends League. That includes 30 rabbits, 17 horses, 13 dogs and two cats. Click here and here for adoptable animals.

The investigation into this case is ongoing and a trial date has not yet been set.