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Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011County: El Paso
Alleged: Jessica Elrod
Humane Society officials seized 57 small mammals this week from a Colorado Springs pet-sitting and animal rescue business, claiming the animals were malnourished and living in their own feces.
Jessica Elrod, owner of Critter Crossings, faces 57 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty after an anonymous tip on Tuesday led officials with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to her house, in the 1400 block of Diamond Rim, said Erica Meyer, Humane Society spokeswoman.
Inside, authorities found malnourished ferrets, rabbits, rats, sugar gliders and hedgehogs living in feces and going without proper medical care, Meyer said. Many of the animals were immediately taken to veterinarians.
"There was just an overwhelming odor," she said.
Elrod, who has run the company for 17 years, said her business is "ruined" amid the accusations, which she said are false. She said some of the animals taken were already under her medical care.
"There's five sides to every story," Elrod said.
Along with pet-sitting services, the company hosts petting zoos that include a bearded dragon, a crested gecko, a chinchilla and an African crested porcupine, according to her website.
She also offers U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed educational programs featuring exotic animals, the website said, as well as "pedigree and show quality hedgehogs and chinchillas."
Hedgehogs, chinchillas, dogs and sugar gliders were also available for adoption on her website as part of a rescue and placement service offered by Critter Crossings.
Elrod has about a week left to post bail for the animals taken by the Humane Society, Meyer said.
The Humane Society left the remainder of the more than 90 animals at her house, Elrod said.
"The truth will come out in the courts," Elrod said. "There's much more to it people can look at it one way and not know the whole story."
The Humane Society is asking for donations to help take care of the animals. You can help by donating here.
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