Animal Control officers seized 75 dogs from a home near Strasburg today.
Investigators say the owner, Robert Attleson, was operating a pet animal facility without a license.
Nick Fisher, program manager of the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Consumer Inspection Services, told Denver 7 that Attleson had a license until March of 2014. He said the state declined to renew it, because the house where the owner kept the dogs didn't meet physical facility standards under PACFA (Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act.)
"He didn't have water resistant materials," Fisher said.
Attleson, who told Denver 7 that he was taking care of rescued dogs, continued the operation.
The state then filed a civil suit.
In September, the Department was awarded a temporary restraining order which required Attleson to reduce the number of dogs to 15, the limit allowed without a license.
He was given until mid-October to comply.
When inspectors visited the property shortly afterward, they found the owner had 96 dogs.
"He had around 25 - 30 dogs in one room," said Adams County Director of Public Information Jim Siedlecki.
Fisher said that on December 7, the judge issued a permanent injunction against the owner, requiring him to reduce the number to 15 or to relinquish them.
This morning, animal control officers moved in and began loading the dogs into trucks.
They took them to the Adams County Animal Shelter.
"The animals are in pretty good condition considering that there were 90+ dogs living in one house," Siedlecki said. "They will go through both a behavioral and a medical clearance before they're allowed to be adopted."
Siedlecki added that many of the dogs are being picked up by volunteers from other shelters in the metro area and that "most should be available for adoption within 48 hours."
When asked if the owner will face criminal charges, Fisher said, "No, there were no allegations of animal cruelty. It was a civil case that was filed."
But Fisher added that Attleson could face sanctions from the court for contempt.
"He didn't reduce the number of dogs when he was ordered to," Fisher said.
Attleson simply said "he was taking care of the dogs and that he wants them to go to good homes."
Area shelters are trying to make that happen.
"This operation is another example of the spirit of regional cooperation between metro area shelters and state PACFA investigators," said Adams County Animal Shelter Director Stephanie Wilde. "After our standard evaluation, healthy and stable dogs will be available for adoption at each of the participating shelters."
The agencies below will work together to put these animals up for adoption:
- Adams County Animal Shelter
- Aurora Animal Shelter
- Denver Animal Shelter
- Dumb Friends League
- Foothills Animal Shelter
- Humane Society of Boulder Valley
- Larimer Humane Society
The majority of these dogs are Irish, English and Gordon Setters.