Animal Cruelty Cases

Animal Cruelty Cases. Beware - what might look like animal cruelty might not be the case at all due to selective reporting and a predetermined agenda.

July 21, 2011 Animal Cruelty Allegations in Colorado:

Approximately 200 rabbits were seized from a reputable breeder of livestock, show, meat and fiber rabbits in Arvada, Colorado, citing 'deplorable' conditions. Days later, 24 misdemeanor charges were pressed.

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According to the initial media reports from and Denver Post:

  • The rabbits were sweltering in an overcrowded shed.
  • They were aggressively thirsty, and had no food in their bowls.
  • Dead rabbits were being carried out of the shed.
  • The live rabbits were in cages sitting in manure.

What would YOU think if you read about rabbits in these atrocious conditions? Yes, me too -- someone is probably unfit to care for animals.

However, has heard from the other side of this story. The words in italics below are direct quotes from the rabbit breeder, Ms. Debe Bell, and used with permission.

That ‘sweltering’ heat?

"The animal control people or HRS or whoever was in the barn ‘managed’ to turn off the water supply to the swamp cooler, left the barn open for 5 hours and then read the temperature on an old wall thermometer... 

"They also ‘managed’ to unplug one of the fans. Another fan was turned down but I'm not entirely sure if they did that - I usually run it on full blast in this heat..."

200 healthy rabbits seized over misrepresentations

The ‘shed’ was a large outbuilding, and from the pictures we saw, the cages were adequately sized for the breeds of rabbits they contained. 

The ‘aggressive thirst’ and no feed in bowls?
The owner waters her rabbits both morning and night. Plus, the rabbits get their day’s food in the evening. By the time the raid had been completed, it was very close to dinnertime. Media pictures showed many water bottles containing ample water hanging on many cages. Some cages however had crocks, and these could have been walked in, knocked over, played with, etc. They took pics only of the dirty and empty crocks.

The ‘dead rabbits in the shed?’
"15-20 rabbits in the freezer were headed to the zoo. They never allowed for the fact that 15 animals were going to the raptors on Monday, two from the barn were to go to the zoo as well..."

The dead rabbits were in the freezer. Wow, THAT changes the story a tad, eh? These dead animals weren’t keeled over dead in their cages -- they were frozen solid in the FREEZER until delivery to the zoo in order to feed zoo predators. Talk about misrepresentation.

Live rabbits sitting in manure?
Five rabbits in three cages were sitting in manure. 98% of rabbits were in clean cages, however the three cages were truly dirty. According to persons familiar with the case, Ms. Bell's 4-H cleaning crew had overlooked these cages the prior week. At the same time the authorities...

"...never once made mention of the fly suppression system in the barn or why there aren't flies in there, nor would they listen to anything I had to say - they just swooped in and it was done.

"All of this because someone was in my barn sometime last year. This is where the original anonymous complaint stems from...."

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Animal cruelty case full of misrepresentations

The story initially sounded airtight, but then additional info came to light.'s Bob McCarty interviews Ms. Debe Bell here.

  • The rabbits were not half-dead from unbearable heat
  • The rabbits were healthy, not dehydrated or starving
  • The single rabbit dead in a cage did not belong to Ms. Bell
  • Only 3 cages (out of 200) were not clean
  • More than 6 months passed between rabbitry visit, a payment of $2,000 for an anonymous tip, and then the raid
  • The owner's verifiable explanations were ignored
  • The Foothills Animal Shelter needed the money that the publicity would bring


November,  2011 Animal Cruelty Case:

Justice For Pacific Northwest Farmers - In November 2011, the Kitsap County Humane Society (KHS) confiscated over 170 animals of many species from the Bailey family in Olalla, WA. The rationale? "The animals deserve better." What? There was no appearance of abuse or neglect that could be seen from the media stories and pictures.

This case appeared to be money-driven since the KHS was admittedly strapped for cash. Nothing like a media circus and 170 "free" marketable animals for jump-starting the flow of donations. The KHS was apparently in a huge rush to get said animals castrated, despite the fact that the Baileys still owned the animals that had been confiscated under the color of law. Many were immediately listed for resale to the public. Due process was repeatedly overlooked and violated.

This case is detailed at the Justice For Pacific Northwest Farmers website, including news articles, photos, videos, everything.

Three months later, in February 2012, ALL criminal and civil charges were dropped. The Baileys were vindicated; but their animals were gone, and KHS was considerably richer.

When it comes to any animal cruelty cases, we are now highly suspicious of anything we read.

We recommend you also be slow to judge when stories like this one surface.

See our Animal Abuse Facts glossary to get a better understanding on how words may get lost in the translation from one side of an issue to the other.


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