Colorado Horse News,  Horse Ownership in Colorado

Animal Cruelty in Weld County

You may have seen the image and story circulating social media and the news about a Weld County horse that was severely underweight, with very overgrown feet, unable to stand or eat. That horse has been euthanized and the horse owner was cited with one count of animal neglect, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail.

What you might not know are all the details leading up to the charge and euthanasia. So here they are:

“I called the weld county Sherriff to report a downed horse on June 29th, 2020. The Animal Control Officer, Perun, went to the ranch on CR 68 in Briggsdale CO. I followed up with a call later that day, only to discover that the Animal Control Officer was allowing that horse to stay there for 3.5 more days. I was not happy with that decision, so I called the Weld County veterinarian, the Weld County district attorney, and the Colorado state attorney. Then I posted the photo and the Weld county sheriff department’s plan to social media. I asked for calls to the Weld County Sherriff to demand that horse get help ASAP. The next morning the sheriffs went back out with the state vet and sadly euthanized the horse.”

We spoke to Jodi M. of Zuma’s Rescue Ranch who has been involved in this case since day one and received this information.

For 36 hours I tried to get this horse help, sadly I was too late, this poor horse suffered for months down the mile long driveway hidden from view while Sandy and John Thomas did nothing. Horse rescue is hard, and sadly animal protection officers lack training to properly address situations like this. The first officer on scene allowed the horse to lay ther for what would have been 3 more days. Then I forced the issue with a public cry for help. Thanks to the 800 plus people that heard my cry, Weld County Sherriff returned to the scene of the crime and did their job. It should not take public shaming for authorities to understand and do their jobs.Animal control officers need more training and judges need the throw the book at animal abusers to set precedent with harsh penalties and jail time. Please don’t let this horses suffering end here. Join me in continued calls the Weld County DA to ensuer the maximum penalty is imposed on both Sandy and John Thomas . We will be gathering September 1st at the Weld County court house to sit in on the court hearing, join us! Let’s let that poor horses’ voice be heard until things change and animal abusers are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Please respectfully call and request that Sandy and John Thomas be charged with felony animal abuse. Also request that the animals in their care be removed.

We spoke to Jodi M. of Zuma’s Rescue Ranch who has been involved in this case since day one and received this information.

“A Weld County man was cited Tuesday with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty after a horse was discovered suffering from a severe case of founder.

Founder is a common and painful condition affecting the feet of horses. It occurs when there is inflammation of the laminae, or the folds of tissue connecting the pedal bone to the hoof.

“Essentially, the horse’s hooves were so overgrown it was too painful for it to walk,” said Weld County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer Rebeca Farris.

Weld County deputies first responded Monday to a report of animal neglect at a property located in unincorporated Weld near Briggsdale. Deputies returned to the property on Tuesday with an independent veterinarian and a veterinarian from the Colorado Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian’s Office. The veterinarians agreed it had been at least one year, possibly two, since the horse’s hooves had been trimmed.

The horse owner was cited with one count of animal neglect, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail.

Veterinarians at the scene were forced to euthanize the horse, determining the founder was too severe to make rehabilitation a viable option.

To see the Weld County Sheriff’s social media post about the case, go here:

Weld County Sheriff’s Office

Allowing an animal to degrade, in pain, while laying down because it physically cannot stand for days if not months is a choice. Not getting proper care is a choice. Not doing right by your animals is a choice. Please make your voice heard (in a professional/respectful manner) by contacting the District Attorney.

District Attorney Michael J. Rourke
Phone: (970) 356-4010
Fax: (970) 352-8023

Jodi M. is currently working with Douglas County animal control to develop a training program for officers to better understand and manage animal cruelty charges. To get in contact with Jodi or Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, please visit their website

Leave a Reply