Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19097
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull), horse, captive exotic
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Friday, Jan 6, 2012

County: Pueblo

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 2 files available

Alleged: Valarie Christine Harris

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

A Pueblo County woman has been charged with cruelty to animals for the third time after authorities seized more than 60 starving and emaciated animals from her home.

The animals included 30 horses - three of which were deceased - 31 dogs, donkeys, mules, a cat and a llama, according to Pueblo Animal Services, the animal shelter serving the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area.

Joe Stafford, director of animal law enforcement for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, said police and humane society staff found "deplorable conditions that were among the worst I have ever seen" when they went to the home in Boone on Friday.

"There were starving and emaciated animals scattered throughout the property living in unimaginable circumstances," Stafford said.

Valarie Christine Harris, 55, was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. She is being held on $75,000 bond, according to court records.

Harris was first arrested and charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty in 2007, after 19 horses were seized from the same property east of Pueblo. She was convicted on two counts and sentenced to probation.

In 2009, Harris was charged with two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals for having two neglected dogs. She was later convicted a misdemeanor.

The animals seized Friday were taken into protective custody and are being treated by Pueblo Animal Services. The shelter estimates it will cost about $20,000 over the next several months to treat them.

Anyone wishing to donate to the shelter to help in the animals' recovery may give online at www.puebloanimalservices.org or by mail: Pueblo Animal Services, 4600 Eagleridge Place, Pueblo, CO 81008.

Harris is next scheduled to be in court Jan. 23 for her initial appearance.


Case Updates

A Pueblo County woman is back behind bars after authorities said they found the bodies of seven horses starved-to-death on her property in Boone.

Joe Stafford, the director of animal law enforcement, said she allegedly dragged three of the horses onto her neighbors property. He said investigators found the remaining four on her property.

Valarie Harris was already facing animal abuse charges from an incident in January.

Stafford said 31 dogs, 29 horses, several donkeys and mules, a cat and a llama were living in the worst conditions he's ever seen.

They were taken to shelters in the region. But, during their investigation of her property, two horses and a donkey were found dead.

"What we encountered was really shocking and horrific conditions that the animals were being kept in," said Stafford.

Valarie Christine Harris, 55, has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a class 6 felony. She faces additional counts from the most recent discovery.

She's been convicted for animal abuse twice before. In 2007, authorities said that 19 horses were seized from her property and in 2009, two neglected dogs were found.

Stafford said he'll be working with the district attorney's office to get justice for the animals and stop Harris from doing this again. He said for every animal Harris is found guilty of abusing, she faces up to 18 months in jail and a $100,000 fine.

The animals are now getting the food and care they need at humane society facilities around Southern Colorado.

The humane society said it hopes all of the animals will eventually be up for adoption after they are rehabilitated. For now, it's looking for donations to help with care and treatment. A spokesperson said the animals will cost $20,000 or more to care for in the next few months.

You can donate online by clicking here or mail donations to: Pueblo Animal Services, 4600 Eagleridge Place, Pueblo, CO 81008.
Source: krdo.com - Feb 17, 2012
Update posted on Feb 17, 2012 - 9:11PM 
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) is asking for the community's help to take care of the animals seized from a property in Boone.

On January 6, more than 70 animals, including 30 dogs and 29 horses, were taken from Valarie Harris after she was arrested on animal cruelty charges. The animals have since been relocated to shelters and vet clinics across Colorado.

"Those animals are being cared for in shelters from Douglas County to Pueblo County," Director of Animal Law Enforcement said.

The Humane Society in Colorado Springs is caring for many of the dogs and helping them learn how to interact with people.

"When they arrived, some of them were a bit under-socialized," Erica Meyer, Communication Specialist for HSPPR, said. "We're just trying to get them used to what it is like to be a dog, to know people, to know treats, to know a leash."

Stafford said some of the animals, however, are in need of immediate medical attention.

"It needs to be fed very small meals throughout the day," Stafford said of one of the horses that is severely malnourished. "[It needs] regular veterinary check-ups to make sure it's condition is improving."

Recently, Valarie Harris posted a $75,000 bond which maintained her ownership of the animals. Those funds help cover the costs to care for the abused animals, however, animal service officials said it is not enough.

"The bond or cost of living covers their daily keep and the basic food they need," Stafford said. "They also require very intensive veterinary care and that's very, very expensive."

In order to help keep the animals and their hopes alive, HSPPR is calling upon the community.

"We need monetary donations to give these animals the second chance they deserve," Stafford said.

Harris is currently facing five felony charges of animal abuse, according to Stafford. Meyer said if Harris does not have a trial within the next 30 days and does not post a subsequent bond, the rescued animals would become the property of HSPPR. If that is the case, staff would reevaluate the health and conditions of the animals to decide if they are suitable for adoption.

To help with HSPPR's animal recovery efforts, visit their website www.hsppr.org.
Source: coloradoconnection.com - Jan 31, 2012
Update posted on Jan 31, 2012 - 8:35PM 

References

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