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Veterinarian charged in New Hope Rescue animal cruelty case

New Hope Animals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - New records obtained by 13 Investigates give further insight into the poor living conditions and health of several dogs at New Hope Rescue in Colorado Springs. The records show that it’s not just New Hope’s Director that is facing criminal charges -- a veterinarian is also facing animal cruelty charges and may still be practicing veterinary care in southern Colorado.

New Hope Rescue’s Director Joann Roof and veterinarian Frederick Smith both face multiple animal cruelty charges after Animal Law Enforcement, Colorado Springs Police, and representatives with the Department of Agriculture conducted a search warrant at the animal rescue in September. Smith was charged with five counts of animal cruelty.

New Hope’s license was recently suspended by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and 47 animals were seized from the premises on Thursday. The animals were transferred to a rescue in Denver at Roof's request.

According to arrest affidavits for Roof and Smith, five dogs were seen in poor or questionable condition. Of those five dogs, multiple were seen with their ribs and hip bones showing. One dog had a large open wound to the right side of its neck, and lacerations around its neck consistent with something being tied around the neck either too tight or possibly for too long. A third dog was incessantly coughing, and animal law enforcement feared the animal would vomit. 

New Hope Rescue Inc.

Animal Law Enforcement discovered two dogs locked inside of a shed behind the animal rescue with piles of feces throughout the animals' living area. 

“[A dog] was laying on his side and his head was shaking involuntarily back and forth, when animal law enforcement called the animal by name, it did not respond,” said animal law enforcement in the affidavit for Roof and Smith. “Tremors and neurological distress are known to be sign of distemper in dogs.”

When asked why he was allowing a dog that had tested positive for distemper to be in housed in the same shed as another dog who had not yet been confirmed positive for the virus, New Hope’s vet told animal law enforcement he did not believe in distemper tests and that he doesn’t even order them. 

In the reports, doctors with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region say none of the dogs mentioned in the report received adequate care while at New Hope Rescue. 

Vets with HSPPR say that a number of dogs were being treated for upper-respiratory symptoms with medications. However, nothing in New Hope Rescue’s records indicated that a vet was following up to ensure the animal was responding to the medications. In some of the cases, the animal’s health had been declining. 

Roof is facing multiple animal cruelty charges stemming from 2020 and most recent case in September. New Hope's Director is expected to go to trial for the original 2020 animal cruelty charges this month.  

When animal law enforcement arrived at New Hope in September, Smith indicated he worked for Compassion Animal Hospital as a veterinarian in Woodland Park. According to the state, Smith's license remains active today. When 13 Investigates reached out to the Compassion Animal Hospital in Woodland Park to see if he still works there on Friday, they had no comment. 

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Dan Beedie

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

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