Jefferson County, County and District Attorneys, Jefferson County Animal Control and Foothills Animal Shelter are under fire from The Animal Law Center and the New York-based Lexus Project, a non-profit legal firm for animals. On Tuesday, October 14, Jefferson County Deputy County Attorney Rebecca Klymkowsky gave the okay to euthanize a dog named Dream, despite a judge’s order that the dog be kept alive pending a court appeal.
As a result, The Animal Law Center filed a motion for Contempt of Court on Monday, October 27. In addition, a Motion for Special Prosecutor was also filed by The Animal Law Center to take the case out of the hands of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office due to their involvement in this case.
“In my years of law practice, I’ve never seen anything like this,” exclaimed Jennifer Edwards, founder and attorney with The Animal Law Center. “It’s a blatant disregard for a court order and is essentially now a murder case.”
“We want an investigation into how this happened,” says Richard Rosenthal, Esq., The Lexus Project. “We have been fighting for this dog’s life for almost one year only to have it ended so negligently is abhorrent.”
Dream was a 9-year-old, mixed breed service dog owned by Jake McCartney of Fort Collins. Just last month Jefferson County Judge Robert Vance determined that Dream was a dangerous dog and should be euthanized. The court action stems from a biting incident, which occurred at a house party in November of 2013. The victim was a 3-year-old boy who it is believed was playing with the dog prior to the bite. The victim required medical treatment. Dream was immediately seized by Jefferson County Animal Control pending the court case.
As part of sentencing, the court ordered Dream’s execution be stayed, pending the appeal that The Animal Law Center indicated it would be undertaking. Present in the court room at the time this order came from the bench by Judge Vance were Assistant County Attorney, Rebecca Klymkowsky, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Rhoads, Deputy District Attorney Max Gold, and Animal Control Officer, Sharon Wright. All parties were also supplied with the sentencing order which clearly specifies a Stay of Execution pending an appeal. (See hearing transcript excerpt below.)
“Jake is devastated,” said Edwards. “Both sides in the case were fully aware of the Stays in place and the pending appeal. We are shocked by what has happened and want the county attorney, prosecutors, animal control, and the shelter held responsible for this outrageous indifference for the welfare of this animal and the court order.”
About The Animal Law Center: The Animal Law Center provides an array of legal services for animal owners and guardians. We are the only dedicated animal law practice in Colorado and are one of the few firms in the United States that practice animal-related law on a full time basis. The Animal Law Center aims to advance the legal status of animals in alignment with mainstream American views. By working closely with the judicial, legislative, and animal welfare communities, the ALC strives to achieve legal recognition that animals are sentient beings, deserving of protection. The ALC also endeavors to strengthen the legal recognition that destruction of the bond between an animal and his/her guardian is often cause of severe emotional pain and suffering. For more information: www.theanimallawcenter.com
About the Lexus Project: Soon after adopting their first Greyhound Beau from a local adoption group, Robin Mittasch & Rich Rosenthal founded the Lexus Projet. Having found her passion for this breed, Robin began working on their behalf.When alerted about the plight of a greyhound in a Rhode Island kill shelter, she was able to enlist the help of her attorney husband Rich to help free the dog named Lexus. Over the course of the next 8 months they were approached a number of times by different groups to intervene on behalf of Greyhounds at risk. Finally, acknowledging the need for an organized group to deal with these unfortunate situations, the Lexus Project was formed. www.thelexusproject.org