Abuse of dog alleged in arrest

Cameron Shell

A 24-year-old with alleged ties to the transient Rainbow Family movement appeared in court this week, accused of robbery and cruelty to animals for allegedly ripping a dog away from another man so violently that numerous witnesses implored law enforcement to arrest him on the cruelty charge.

According to an arrest affidavit, Cameron Shell knew the victim from previous Rainbow Family events, and the two randomly ran into each other at the Pilot Truck Stop, 2195 U.S. Highway 6&50, on Tuesday night. The alleged victim told police that a dog he had with him had previously been Shell’s, and that Shell gave him the “skin and bones” dog because he could not care for it properly. The victim, police said, has had the dog ever since and nursed it back to good health.

But on Tuesday, an altercation escalated between the two, Shell demanded the dog back, and Shell “grabbed the dog by the collar and violently pulled the dog,” according to a police account of the incident. A rope around the neck of the dog was pulled so tightly that the victim was forced to cut the rope with a knife to allow the dog to breathe, police wrote.

A witness traveling with the victim said Shell was “violently pulling, choking and dragging the dog.” Another witness traveling with the group said Shell was “dragging (the dog) by the neck.”

An employee told police that a trucker “walked up to Shell and mentioned that he better never treat a dog that way ever again.”

Still another witness told police that Shell “should be charged with animal abuse for the way he was dragging the dog.”

“He said he (could) hear the dog ‘screaming’ because of what Shell was doing to it,” an officer wrote.

Shell on Wednesday was advised on possible charges of robbery, a felony, for forcibly taking the dog from the victim, third-degree assault, theft and cruelty to animals.

Mesa County Court Judge Michael Grattan issued a $1,000 cash-only bond in the case, calling Shell a flight risk and citing his alleged connection to the fluid Rainbow Family.

His next court date was set for June 6.


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