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Woman charged with more than 50 counts of animal abuse in Morgan County sentenced to 6 years

Posted at 7:41 AM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 09:49:37-05

MORGAN COUNTY, Colo. — A woman was sentenced to six years in prison after she was charged and convicted of dozens of animal abuse charges, according to the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office.

Stacey L. Lambert, 41, was originally charged with 53 counts of animal cruelty. She pleaded not guilty to all of them.

In August 2018, two people — Lambert and Erik Topete, who was 35 at the time — were arrested after an ongoing investigation into complaints of animal abuse at a property in the Goodrich area, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies and officers with the Colorado Humane Society went to the 4000 block of Road Z.5 to investigate the welfare of horses and other animals. Authorities had received word that Lambert and Topete had been buying horses headed to the slaughterhouse, but that the rescued animals were often seen without food or water.

Deputies had been called to the location several times in the months leading up to the arrests because neighbors had spotted loose livestock, which often seemed to be searching for food. Staff with the humane society had come with deputies on many of these occasions to offer assistance to the owners.

Deputies and the humane society did not see any progress or improvements in the health of the animals, according to the sheriff’s office.

After obtaining a search warrant, investigations and human society staff, as well as State Brand Inspectors and State Veterinarians with the Colorado State Veterinarian’s department and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection, went to the property. They found 11 horses, six goats, 32 sheep, two potbelly pigs and a calf. A “very small amount” of feed was found on the property and “it was apparent most of the animals had not been fed for some time,” according to the sheriff’s office.

They also found five dead horses.

All of the livestock were seized. The horses were brought to the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown and the rest of the animals were taken to the Colorado Livestock Exchange in Brush.

In addition, authorities determined that a pickup at the residence had been involved in a recent hay theft, according to the sheriff’s office.

Lambert was sentenced to six years behind bars on Wednesday, according to the district attorney's office.