Cruelty at the Denver Pound

A Denver ACO named Jennifer Mooney was convicted of animal cruelty this week in connection with a July 2010 incident in which two dogs in her van suffered in the heat for hours.  One dog died and the other was at the seizure stage which precedes death in cases of hyperthermia.  The two charges of negligent animal cruelty are misdemeanors and Ms. Mooney could get up to two years in prison.

There was a thermometer in Ms. Mooney’s van but it monitored the temperature in the cab, not the temperature in the cargo area.  The ACO’s attorney “blamed poor training, poor equipment and policies that he said require officers such as Mooney to cart animals around for hours rather than dropping them off at a shelter”.  The prosecutor argued that Ms. Mooney had an obligation to check on the dogs in the back of her van during the six hour period she drove them around in the summer heat.

A commenter identifying himself as “Jon T” on the Denver Post website and claiming to have worked as an ACO in Denver for 5 years says, in part:

We were constantly told that we were not allowed to come in and drop off dogs on hot days, on cold days, didn’t matter. The bottom line was that we were told to keep driving around generating revenue for the city while the dogs in the back of the van were tossed about in one large compartment, all of the animals forced to be in the same cage together. By the end of the shift, the animals would come out of the vans covered in dog s***, shaking, vomiting, etc. The sergeants didn’t care, the administration didn’t care, because none of them ever had to face the owners of the animals.

Is there a culture of abuse at the Denver pound with ACOs being instructed to neglect the pets in their care or was the July 2010 incident an isolated occurrence?  I contacted the Denver pound with some questions regarding their stray transport protocols yesterday but have not received a reply.  If I do, I will update this post.



13 thoughts on “Cruelty at the Denver Pound

  1. I guess your moderator is keeping my last post in limbo..there is another story that says Ms. Mooney is “likely” to lose her job from this conviction.

  2. Denver has long been known for their polices that kill dogs “just because of they way they look”. Pit bulls die there everyday for the crime of being born a “pit bull or mix”.. so why does this surprise anyone? Denver sucks

    1. The Denver Pit Bull ban is something that took place in the eighties after two pit bull related attacks and the city has not been able to shake it off since. This area is actually super dog friendly, with neighborhood dog parks and dog facilities, which was great to find when I moved here. I hate that there is still such prejudice here against a single breed though.

  3. Why are some ACOs competent, caring people and some are just…intellectually the bottom of the barrel? Yes, it sounds like the whole system needs retooling – proper training and humane care don’t seem to have been even a low grade priority for the workers. But where is common sense?

  4. I live in Denver and this is very disturbing to hear. Is this something seen more often in government run shelters as opposed to those that are more of a separate organization? We have a couple that are their own entities, and I hope they are able to more closely observe their employees.

    The Denver shelter also just opened up a new facility, so hopefully they can also retool their transportation regulations to match how nice the new facility looks (although I haven’t been inside yet.)

  5. So if someone in the community of Denver leaves a dog in a hot car they can be arrested, but if one of the Animal Control Officers do it then it is business as usual? So wrong!

  6. She should lose her job…and if what this “Jon informant” says is true he should have reported it to the media…Be a whistle blower.

  7. I hope there are severe consequences! The owner did everything possible to claim his dog, yet they adopted him out! We are in desperate need of shelter reform!

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