Chaos leaves neighborhood all riled up

It has been said dogs are man’s best friend.

But in the 3100 block of Kennedy Avenue, the hounds have been anything but friendly.

Jonathan and Rebecca Gilbert, 3182 Kennedy Ave., have had 16 different dogs incarcerated by Mesa County Animal Services since July. With several of the dogs earning multiple stays at Animal Services, the Gilberts’ dogs have logged more than 600 days in county custody.

“The files are probably six inches thick,” said Penny McCarty, director of Animal Services, referring to the case file amassed by Animal Services in regard to the Gilberts.

Attempts by The Daily Sentinel to reach the Gilberts by telephone and by visiting their home were unsuccessful.

Animal Services officers have been to the Gilberts’ residence numerous times and issued numerous citations for animal cruelty, neglect, unregistered dogs and dogs at large. The county had to take away four dogs: Sissy, Diesel, Talon and Chaos.

Chaos, a 2-year-old pit bull, has been deemed a dangerous dog by a judge. Chaos is now housed in a small corner of the Gilberts’ backyard. Six-foot-high chain link surrounds his kennel. Boards, with tires placed on them to weigh them down, enclose the top.

Chaos has killed two of the Gilberts’ other dogs and has been out roaming the neighborhood on his own, according to a November forfeiture-of-property affidavit.

Donald Tow, who takes care of the Gilberts’ dogs when they are out of town, said Chaos and the rest of the dogs are great animals and do not deserve their reputation.

“He likes everybody,” Tow said of Chaos.

But he admits, “I think they should take a little better care of their own dogs.”

Neighbors share that sentiment.

“One time, one of them (dogs) came out, and the neighbors just to the east of us were afraid that the dog was going to attack one of the children that was playing in the lawn,” said a nearby neighbor, who did not give his name, saying he feared retaliation by the Gilberts. “It kind of came at my wife a couple other times. If it was the same dog, I can’t tell. There are so many of them.”

Another neighbor said the Gilberts’ backyard is a mess of dog excrement.

“People two, three houses away can smell it on a breezy day. People should not have to live in that condition,” another neighbor said. “It is just hard for anybody to take.”

For all the chaos that Chaos and his four-legged companions have caused in this otherwise quiet Fruitvale neighborhood, Animal Services has dealt with worse.

“We see some situations that are even more of a public-safety risk involving people, but this has probably been one of the most ongoing,” McCarty said.

The Gilberts, who are on probation for past animal citations, have several new animal cruelty and neglect charges to face in court, McCarty said. The Gilberts have been cited by Animal
Services more than 20 times, and Animal Services officers have had to spend numerous hours in court — as opposed to possibly being out patrolling the streets — for this one case.


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