Judge Orders Woman Jailed For Animal Cruelty

By Brian Maass and Mark Ackerman

LIMON, Colo. (CBS4) – A Lincoln County Judge on Friday ordered a woman to spend 43 days in jail after she was convicted of animal abuse. A CBS4 Investigates report that aired Thursday night showed how animal investigators discovered dozens of dogs, birds and horses living in filth and without enough food to eat on Connie and David Caswell’s property south of Limon in 2016.

Connie and David Caswell (credit: State of Colorado)

A jury convicted Connie Caswell of 43 counts of animal cruelty and she was sentenced on Friday.

The judge ordered a day in jail for Connie Caswell for each cruelty count, and also sentenced her to eight years of probation, 47 days of home detention and required that a sign be posted on her property saying “No pets or domestic animals allowed.”

In court, when she expressed surprise about that part of the sentence, the judge told her she couldn’t even have a chicken on her property.

Prosecutor Jim Bartkus called the case “egregious” and “intolerable,” noting this was the second time Caswell had been found guilty of animal cruelty. She and her husband pleaded guilty to the charge in 2007.

(credit: State of Colorado)

Caswell told a CBS4 producer, “Of course I’m sorry” for the condition the animals were kept in.

In an online post, their property was referred to as “Happy Acres Rescue,” but investigators say the couple was breeding dogs without a license and selling them on the internet.

Department of Agriculture investigators searched the Caswell ranch in March 2016 . They found 44 dogs living among trash heaps and in a series of cages, trailers and sheds. Dead animals were also found on the property.

Some puppies, said investigators, had to “lay in their own mother’s feces.”

Five dogs were so sick they died or had to be euthanized. A total of 29 were adopted out, though.

David Caswell is scheduled to stand trial on similar charges next month.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

Mark Ackerman is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. Follow him on Twitter @ackermanmark

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