COLORADO SPRINGS — The owner of New Hope Rescue, Inc., investigated for malpractice in September 2021, was found guilty of animal cruelty on Friday.
Joann Roof was found guilty of one count of Cruelty of Animals and acquitted of a second count. Three counts of Cruelty to Animals were dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Roof will be sentenced Nov. 10. She could face up to a year in county jail, and or $500 to $1,000 in fines.
The closure of New Hope Rescue came after an investigation from the Animal Law Enforcement Division of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in September 2021. The rescue failed to properly isolate dogs with communicable diseases and did not provide veterinary care soon enough for sick and injured animals.
Canine Distemper, a highly contagious disease that affects dogs, cats, and wildlife, is often fatal. The disease can have permanent health effects for the animals that do survive.
According to Nick Fisher, Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) Program Section Chief, New Hope Rescue knew that the facility they were sourcing animals from had distemper but brought in animals anyway.
In 2020, shelters and rescues in Colorado imported over 50,000 animals, according to the Department of Agriculture. Shelters and rescues across the state were concerned with sick animals from other states infecting animals in Colorado.
Dogs that showed signs of distemper were not properly quarantined at the shelter. As per court documents, Roof continued to have animals adopted even though they were deathly sick.
Fisher said that in 2021, Colorado received 34 complaints regarding the New Hope Rescue, Inc. The owner also failed six inspections.
New Hope Rescue, Inc. was issued a cease and desist order from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. All animal care was suspended.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture seized nearly 40 animals. Animals that were under the care of New Hope Rescue were transferred to the Dumb Friends League.