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Animal rescue director found guilty of animal cruelty, banned from operating future rescue

Joann Roof
KRDO NewsChannel 13

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The former Director of a former Colorado Springs Animal Rescue is facing potential jail time after being found guilty of animal cruelty.

Joann Roof - the Director of New Hope Rescue - was found guilty of a single count of animal cruelty last week. Roof was acquitted of a second animal cruelty charge, while three more were dismissed by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Roof in November. She could face up to a year in jail.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture tells 13 Investigates Roof will never operate an animal rescue in the state of Colorado again following the conviction. New Hope Rescue had its license suspended in the state of Colorado back in November of last year.

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) says 5 dogs were seized from New Hope Rescue in September of 2021. According to court records, Animal Law Enforcement said Roof failed to provide adequate vet care to those dogs resulting in "unjustifiable pain and suffering."

Animal Law Enforcement says three of the five dogs that were seized from New Hope Rescue had to be "humanely euthanized."

“There was some serious issues going on," Lindsey Vigna the Assistant Director of Animal Law Enforcement at HSPPR told 13 Investigates. "Their prognosis was very poor. Two of the animals were transferred to other rescue partners within Colorado for a second chance.”

The Pet Animal Care Facilities Act or PACFA Program within the Colorado Department of Agriculture declined an interview with 13 Investigates. However, they did provide a statement.

On November 4, 2021, the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) Program within the Colorado Department of Agriculture summarily suspended the PACFA license of New Hope Rescue Inc. At the time of the suspension, New Hope Rescue was also issued a cease and desist order to refrain from operating or conducting the activities of a pet animal facility, specifically a pet animal shelter.
On November 18, 2021, the El Paso County District Court issued a permanent injunction ordering New Hope Rescue Inc to refrain from operating or conducting the activities of a pet animal facility and ordered New Hope Rescue to surrender the 36 animals in its possession to the Dumb Friends League.
The license suspension matter is currently stayed at the Office of Administrative Courts and is expected to be reset by the court pending the outcome in Ms. Roof’s criminal case.

Olga Robak, Colorado Department of Agriculture

The 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office declined to comment on our story until after Roof's sentencing hearing in November.

Roof may no longer be able to run an animal rescue again, but New Hope's vet is still licensed to work in Colorado. Frederick Smith, a veterinarian from Woodland Park, faces five counts of animal cruelty stemming from his work at New Hope Rescue. Smith's trial is set to get underway at the end of next month.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

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