We citizens of Conejos and surrounding counties feel compelled to address the gross injustice published Friday, March 28, 2014, in the Valley Courier. As fellow animal owning citizens, we feel outraged that the Colorado Humane Society & SPCA, a non-official, non-governmental agency, can investigate and essentially prosecute an animal owner without knowing all the facts and, in many instances, completely ignore key facts that disprove their frivolous case.
The article reports that the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office seized five horses from a pasture in August 2013 from Daniel Bond of Manassa. What was never reported was that four other horses were left in that pasture with visible green grass and were deemed, by Colorado Humane Society investigator K. Schou, to be in, “ideal condition.” If the Colorado Humane Society felt that the pasture was, “over grazed,” and the horses were, “severely malnourished,” why weren’t the other four horses removed as well? Perhaps the Colorado Humane Society should be investigated for their own animal abuse and neglect. We would definitely like to receive a $2,000 reward for reporting such abuse and neglect, as did the “anonymous” person who initially reported Daniel Bond’s horses.
Further, the article, that the Valley Courier editor confirmed was authored by the Colorado Humane Society, failed to report that the two “severely malnourished” mares seized were 26-years-old and 33-years-old. How exactly should a 26-year-old plus horse look? The fact that these two mares were still alive up to and well after the average life expectancy is proof of good care, not neglect. Not to mention, both of these mares had been unintentionally bred and were nursing colts at the time of seizure. A horse that is over 25-years-old is considerably the same as a person in his 80s. Does the Colorado Humane Society actually think that an 80-year-old individual is going to have the physical appearance of a 20-year-old? We think not.
The March 28, 2014 article reportedly quotes Colorado Humane Society investigator, Bret Smith, and his gratuitous slander and misstatements of fact. There was never any evidence reported that, “This was one of [sic] worst cases of animal cruelty we’ve seen.” Mr. Smith is obviously unaware of the June 2011-January 2012 animal abuse case in Conejos County involving 40 horses and 90 counts of animal cruelty and related charges. In that case, the individual sentenced received half the fine Daniel Bond received, and NO jail time. Does Mr. Smith really believe that the alleged “abuse” of five horses is far worse than the “abuse” of 40 horses? This June 2011-January 2012 case is only one of many animal abuse/neglect cases in the Valley where NO jail time was received.
Being assured that no jail time would be sought and trusting the judicial system, Daniel Bond pled “no contest” to ONE count of animal neglect. During sentencing, Judge Susan Broyles disregarded the condition of Mr. Bond’s plea, called her own witnesses, and expressed her personal, emotional bias toward the subject matter and imposed a sentence of 30 days jail. Judge Broyles’s emotionally charged sentence for this type of offense is completely unprecedented in Conejos County, let alone the Valley, for a first-time offender.
We citizens of Conejos and surrounding counties are outraged that a non-official, non-governmental agency can come onto our private lands, make unsupported, futile judgments, and, essentially defame a man’s character and reputation with little to no evidence, and that a judge would disregard the recommendation of all parties and impose an outrageous sentence based purely on emotion, bias, and personal agenda. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The case of Daniel Bond is a complete and utter injustice to the average, animal owning, working man of the San Luis Valley. We WILL NOT tolerate such gross injustice and threat to our livelihoods. If it can happen to one, it can happen to all.
The Family of Dan Bond
and so on...
We have obtained a total of 398 signatures supporting this petition in approximately 36 hours. Petitions can still be signed at Manassa Market and Donald’s Service in Manassa, Sanford Country Store in Sanford, Hometown Foods in Antonito, Mark’s Outdoor Sports in Alamosa, and Gibsons in La Jara. Your support would be greatly appreciated.