If you are charged with Cruelty to Animals (C.R.S. 18-9-202) in Denver, you should be aware that the Deputy District Attorney may have a "dog in the fight".
I shouldn't have been surprised when I read this story in the denverpost.com. A Deputy District Attorney who filed charges against a Denver animal-control officer for Cruelty to Animals left her job and went to work for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. No doubt, animal cruelty was one of her passions. The article quotes her as saying the animal-control officer "may not have meant to harm the dogs, but she must have heard the distressed animals from the back of van." The former animal-control officer was found guilty and now faces the possibility of up to two years in jail.
In order for a person to be convicted of Cruelty to Animals in Adams, Larimer or Weld County, each of the elements of the crime must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt". While there are different ways this crime can be charged, each has specific elements that must be proven. Some of the elements of this charge include, "knowingly", "intentionally", or "recklessly" under certain circumstances. But no matter how the crime is charged, a person would either have to know or should have known an animal was being harmed. It is not enough to just show that an animal was harmed. On the surface it is easy to think that an animal-control officer should have been aware of the hazardous conditions the dogs were under in this case. But digging deeper into the story, we learn that the prosecutor made this case about what she believed the officer should have known, rather than what the officer actually knew and how she was trained to do her job. There was good reason to believe that in this case the poorly trained officer was relying on a thermometer that was not correctly installed.
Animal cruelty charges are popular among prosecutors in Denver and the more urban parts of Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Douglas County. Deputy DAs looking for a promotion will try to convince a jury to convict based on their feelings as opposed to the law and facts of the case. While it is impossible to know the outcome of this case if a different DA was involved, at O'Malley Law Office, P.C., our attorneys know how to educate a jury to process the elements of a crime with their heads and to avoid an emotional decision.
If you or someone you care about is being charged with Animal Abuse or Cruelty to Animals, "be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future."