13 animal cruelty charges laid against Colorado ‘animal activist’
Ironically, Colorado animal activist Ellen Kessler is charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty. A subpoena orders Kessler, 72, to appear on May 23 to face animal cruelty charges.
Kessler was a member of the Colorado Board of Veterinary Medicine until his resignation earlier this year. His exit came after an exchange of Facebook posts in which Kessler called Colorado farmers and ranchers “lazy and mean.” She was exchanging comments with Marion Reis of Boulder who is the wife of Governor Jared Polis, who appointed Kessler to the veterinary board.
In his Facebook comments, Kessler, without any evidence, also claimed that cattle ranchers used cows to “bait” wolves in exchange for compensation. His resignation from the Vet Board became effective Feb. 11.
Kessler was previously known to have been removed from blocking the entrance to a Costco store.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office confirms that they have been notified of conditions in Kessler’s basement. That’s where animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies found birds being kept in cages with no sunlight and floors covered in seeds, dirt and feces.
Dead and alive flies and mice were also found in the basement.
The birds were taken to a vet’s office, but one of the 13 birds was already dead and a second bird died at the vet’s office.
Kessler has not commented since being charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty.
A first offense of animal cruelty in Colorado is a misdemeanor. With conviction, the court may impose a sentence including:
- Up to 364 days in county jail, and/or
- $500 to $1,000 fine.
However, the court usually imposes anger management instead of jail time. But the court can order the confiscation of animals involved in the case. Aggravated animal cruelty — gross and intentional mistreatment — is still a felony in Colorado.
Common defense strategies for animal cruelty charges in Colorado include:
Colorado law recognizes that “animal cruelty” includes all forms of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. It makes no difference whether the behavior was conscious, reckless or simply careless.
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