Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19862
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull), horse, bird (pet), other farm animal
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Person(s) in animal care
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Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012

County: Elbert

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Christie A. O'Rourke
» David Stantoine

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The Elbert County Sheriff's Office has seized 50 animals in a case that ended too late for two animals whose remains were found among conditions that authorities considered a health hazard for humans.

The sheriff's office on July 10 filed 20 animal cruelty charges against Elbert residents Christie O'Rourke, 54, and David Stantoine, 58, following a four-month investigation.

The animals seized included eight horses, two alpacas, 14 dogs and the carcasses of one cat and one dog, said Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap.

"The conditions were so poor that it created a serious health hazard for the occupants as well as the animals," Heap said. "Deputies showed great compassion for these animals, worked diligently to address their medical needs and provided new healthy living environments."

The investigation included the help of agents from the Colorado Humane Society, Denver Dumb Friends League and the Colorado state veterinarian's office.

"We've had so many animal abuse cases this year, sometimes we have neighbors take care of (the animals)," Heap said. "Hay prices are ridiculous. When people can't afford to pay for their houses, they can't afford to feed their animals."

The sheriff's office has seen about a 25 percent increase in animal abuse cases compared with the summer of 2011, which Heap attributes in part to the economic conditions. Local feed stores are on their fourth delivery of out-of-state hay, which presently sells for about $12 per bale, he said.

"This is a huge drought covering half of the country, it's not like it's just Colorado," Heap said. "We can easily get hay from other states. What you're seeing is other states are suffering, too, and the prices just keep climbing."

Among the animals seized in the Elbert case were 19 house birds, a potbellied pig, two domestic rabbits and four house cats. The animals were placed in the care of the Dumb Friends League and the sheriff's office, Heap said.


Case Updates

The operators of a former animal rescue in Elbert County have been cited on felony animal abuse charges, months after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, the Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

Christine A. O'Rourke, 54, and David Stantoine, 58, agreed to plead guilty to 20 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty in November and were sentenced to 24 months of unsupervised probation. They were allowed to keep the remaining animals on their property with the condition of unannounced inspections.

After authorities received a tip about a dead animal on the property, sheriff's deputies returned last month amd seized a dozen live animals that appeared to be "exhibiting signs of distress and dehydration with depleting body conditions and were kept in a hazardous environment without access to water or food," according to a statement from the Elbert County Sheriff's Department Tuesday.

"This situation continues to be disappointing," Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap stated. "We have visited the property numerous times and were very discouraged to see several animals deteriorating. It quickly became clear that more animals needed to be removed from the property."

The seized animals, wich were relinquished by the owners, included horses, a puppy and a kitten. Two injured goats had to be euthanized, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Source: Denver Post - March 5, 2013
Update posted on Mar 6, 2013 - 2:12AM 
Owners of a former animal rescue facility in Elbert County, Christie O'Rourke and David Stantoine, have pled guilty to 20 counts of animal cruelty and an Elbert County judge sentenced them with a Class 1 misdemeanor for animal abuse under Colorado Statute 18-9-202.1A Cruelty to Animals. Additionally, the judge ordered a $275 fine, 24 months of unsupervised probation, restitution, and unannounced inspections of the remaining animals on the property by deputies from the Elbert County Sheriff's Office or agents from the Colorado Humane Society.

In July, 50 animals were rescued from the residence and taken to appropriate facilities for rehabilitation. Many animals remained at the residence. Those animals had shown improvement through the 4-month animal abuse and endangerment investigation, conducted by the Elbert County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Humane Society.

"We are pleased with the outcome of this case," says Sheriff Shayne Heap. "Many of the animals rescued from the site in July have had significant medical needs addressed and have been adopted to new homes. The remaining animals on site showed significant improvement at last inspection and we are hopeful that those animals will live a healthy life now."

Sheriff Heap went on to say, "The Colorado Humane Society & SPCA partnership with the sheriff's office has been instrumental in this and many other animal abuse cases; they are a professional organization and the sheriff's office is thankful for their tireless efforts."

O'Rourke and Stantoine will be able to care for the remaining animals in their possession, but as those animals leave the property either through adoption or death, they cannot be replaced during the probation period.

Additionally, O'Rourke and Stantoine surrendered their license as a pet animal facility under the Pet Animal Care Facility Act (PACFA), a licensing and inspection program through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Source: Colorado Humane Society - Nov 12, 2012
Update posted on Mar 6, 2013 - 2:11AM 

References

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