ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)- Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies seized 200 rabbits after they received a tip on a new animal abuse hotline. Investigators found the animals at Six Bells Farm, located at 75th and Alkire in Jefferson County, on Thursday afternoon.
Deputies said the animals didn’t have food or water, had matted hair and were kept in cages that appeared to have not been cleaned in weeks.
A neighbor said the owner, Debbie Bell, is a breeder, not a hoarder. Investigators said she isn’t a licensed breeder.
“I don’t think she would do anything to compromise the health of her animals. She’s put a lot of money and investment into them,” said Bell’s neighbor Jenny Ridgley.
“Anybody thinking logically would understand that keeping animals that are cramped together in conditions that have been described as deplorable, is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Techmeyer.
The owner had not been charged as of Friday afternoon.
Investigators said some of the rabbits were dead. The others are now at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds where Foothills Animal Shelter is caring for them.
Foothills Animal Shelter is taking donations to care for the rabbits. foothillsanimalshelter.org
The animal abuse Crime Stoppers hotline was set up last month. Anonymous tips can be reported via phone or text. The messages are received at Crime Stoppers through a secure online system that protects a caller’s identity. Crime Stoppers then routes the message to the appropriate agency for action.
Rewards of up to $2,000 are available if the tip results in a summons or an arrest. Rewards are paid through a third party, thus further assuring anonymity. Funding for the rewards comes from a private donor.
Tips can be reported via phone or text to Crime Stoppers: (720) 913-STOP (7867), Text: 274637 (CRIMES), then title DMCS and enter the message