|Colorado Humane Society partners with Crime Stoppers|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Beginning this month, the Colorado Humane Society & SPCA (CHS) has added another avenue for reporting animal cruelty throughout Colorado.
CHS is partnering with Crime Stoppers to initiate an anonymous tip and reward program for reporting animal abuse or neglect, dog fighting or other inhumane activities with dogs, cats or horses throughout the Eastern Plains of Colorado.
Prior to this, there has not been a specific program for animal cruelty, in general, to be reported through anonymous tip programs in Colorado. This new program will become part of the standard Crime Stoppers service indefinitely.
CHS chief investigator Rigo Neira and field investigator Joe Isenbart were in Holyoke Monday, May 23 to promote the new program and to make the community aware of its possibilities.
Isenbart is based out of Burlington and Neira out of Weld County and the CHS hub office in Denver. Additionally, field investigator Bret Smith is based in Las Animas. All investigators can cover any county involved with CHS.
CHS operates under a Memorandum of Understanding from the county sheriff’s office in each county it serves.
Isenbart and Neira pointed out they work closely with local law enforcement agencies—sometimes at their direction and sometimes at their request for assistance.
How to report tips
Tips pertaining to animal cruelty can be reported by phone call or by text messaging.
The phone tip number is 720-913-STOP (7867).
To text a tip, citizens should text the number 274637 (CRIMES), then title DMCS and enter the message.
The beauty of the texting option is that it allows a two-way communication and still retains anonymity for the one reporting the tip, explained Neira.
When a tip comes in but a little more information is needed, a response can be sent back to the tipster. Going through a double blind, the identity of the one giving the tip is still not known.
Neira said sometimes tips include a street name but not the city. In a phone message situation, there’s no way to make a return call to get the needed information. The texting tip option allows for that.
Those who suspect cruelty or neglect involving dogs, cats or horses are encouraged to call or text the anonymous tip lines at Crime Stoppers any time.
Since the new CHS started two years ago, the agency aimed to spread awareness of its services to investigate and prevent the cruelty and neglect of companion animals and horses (excluding livestock) in several counties throughout Colorado.
This new program with Crime Stoppers gives the public added confidence and resources to report such crimes.
Normally Crime Stoppers is more localized. With this partnership, CHS offers to get information to the correct agency.
Isenbart pointed out CHS doesn’t do investigations on ranch animals, as the Department of Agriculture takes care of those. This includes horses used for ranch work. However, CHS can route those ranch animal calls to the appropriate agency and can assist if the agency requests them to do so.
In addition to tips being guaranteed anonymous, they can be considered for a reward up to $1,000 if the animal abuse tip results in a summons being issued or an arrest.
Initial funding for this program has been made possible by the donation of an anonymous sponsor.
Contributions are being accepted for the reward fund. Those interested may call Crime Stoppers to find out the procedure or send a check to DMCS, Animal Cruelty Reward Fund, P.O. Box 40965, Denver, CO 80204.
Neira noted the significance of people’s awareness for being able to call if they have a concern. “That call can make a difference,” he added.
Isenbart pointed out law enforcement agencies are seeing a decline in funding for this type of thing in these economic times.
He noted CHS can assist with this in providing the resources for taking animals into custody and paying vet fees. Most significantly is their expertise in animal cruelty investigations. “We offer education for them as well,” said Isenbart.
CHS works with local law enforcement and government agencies to investigate and prevent the cruelty and neglect of companion animals and horses (not livestock).
“We’re animal welfare people, not animal rights people,” said Isenbart. “We bring a common sense approach to animal welfare,” he added, explaining they investigate the whole situation.
Isenbart and Neira said they’re available to speak to organizations or answer questions. They’ve done presentations for school and community groups and are glad to better explain their role in promoting animal welfare.
They can be contacted through the CHS numbers at 800-249-5121 or 720-241-7111. They also noted CHS information can be obtained through their website, www.coloradohumane.org.
CHS undergoes changes in 2009
Colorado Humane Society & SPCA is an independent, Colorado-based nonprofit organization. It is not funded or managed by any national advocacy group or government agency, such as the Human Society of the U.S. or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Originally founded in 1881, the Colorado Humane Society was a highly regarded organization. In 2008, the organization closed due to fraudulent activity by the leadership.
In 2009, a new organization was formed with the support of the Denver Dumb Friends League, both financially as well as with assistance from its leadership.
At that point, CHS was able to obtain the CHS & SPCA name, returning the organization to its original status as a premier animal welfare organization in Colorado.