Colorado Springs animal shelter shut down for not following sick animal regulations, concerns of distemper spread

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) – New Hope Rescue, Inc. was issued a cease and desist order from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, all animal care is suspended.

The Department of Agriculture seized nearly 40 animals. The owner of the rescue, Joann Roof, also faces 5 animal cruelty charges.

The care of pet animals, including adoption, importation, transfer, foster, and any other action typically taken by a shelter or rescue is shut down, the CDA announced on Friday.

The rescue closure comes after an investigation from the Animal Law Enforcement Division of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region which found that the organization failed to properly isolate dogs with communicable disease and did not provide veterinary care soon enough for sick and injured animals. 

“To preserve the safety, health, and welfare of pets and pet owners in Colorado Springs, it was imperative that CDA take this emergency action to immediately suspend the PACFA license for New Hope Rescue,” said Nick Fisher, PACFA Program Section Chief. “CDA has serious concerns about the potential for the community spread of distemper through dogs from New Hope Rescue and through unknown exposure to dogs in the community via dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare facilities, and at retail establishments that allow dogs on premises. We recommend anyone who has adopted or fostered animals from New Hope Rescue in the past two months to contact their veterinarian for an examination of their pet animals.”

Animals that were under the care of New Hope Rescue have been transferred to the Dumb Friends League.

Anyone who is fostering a pet animal for New Hope Rescue is asked to contact the Dumb Friends League at 303-751-5772 immediately. 

Distemper is highly contagious disease that affects dogs, cats, and wildlife. The disease is often fatal and can have permanent health effects for the animals that do survive.

In 2020, shelters and rescues in Colorado imported over 50,000 animals, according to the Department of Agriculture. They are concerned with sick animals from other states infecting animals in Colorado.

“New Hope Rescue knew that this facility that they were sourcing animals from had distemper, but they brought in animals anyway,” Fisher added.

Some of the dogs that showed signs of distemper were not being quarantined at the shelter. According to court documents, the owner continued to have animals adopted even though they were deathly sick.

Fisher said in the last 14 months, the state saw 34 complaints regarding the New Hope Rescue, Inc. The owner also failed 6 inspections.

“I would caution people to do their due diligence if you are going to buy your dog from a dog breeder. Research the dog breeder if you are going to buy or adopt a dog from a shelter. Research the shelter,” Fischer said.

The Department of Agriculture has an online complaint form people can fill out and also stay anonymous. They also have an active facility list to confirm if a shelter or adoption center has their license.

Roof and her attorney told FOX21 News ‘no comment’ for a request for an interview or statement in regards to the charges and this case.

A hearing will be held by the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts to decide the status of New Hope Rescue’s future license.

Roof has a jury trial beginning on Nov. 16 for 3 charges of animal cruelty from 2020.

KDVR also contributed to this article.

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