Arrest warrant issued for Snow Mountain Stables ranch manager, ranch hand for multiple counts of animal cruelty

Posted at 8:51 PM, Feb 14, 2022

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — The ranch manager and a ranch hand at Snow Mountain Stables in Grand County are accused of multiple counts of cruelty to animals, the sheriff's office announced Monday.

An arrest warrant was issued for Ranch manager Derek Michael Zurface, 35, and ranch hand Theresa Adeline LaGrande, 23, for three counts of felony cruelty to animals and 91 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

On Jan. 10, deputies and equine agents conducted a welfare check of equine animals at Snow Mountain Stables, located at 1101 CR 53 in unincorporated Grand County. The next day, the sheriff's office, along with partner agencies and with assistance from the Colorado Humane Society, executed a search warrant at the stables in reference to ongoing allegations of animal cruelty and neglect. The operation took two days, the sheriff's office said.

Veterinary professionals determined as of Feb. 11, 18 equine animals are permanently injured, lame and ill and should be medically retired, according to the sheriff's office.

Zurface and LaGrande were caretakers for the horses at the stables, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office continued, stating it did not find facts to support charging the owners of the animals with any crimes under Colorado law.

The stables are operated through a private vendor formerly under contract with the YMCA of the Rockies, according to the sheriff's office. They are not owned or operated by the YMCA of the Rockies. In a press release, the sheriff's office said the YMCA of the Rockies was in the process of terminating the lease contract with Snow Mountain Stables.