Court acts against dogs’ owners

County brings Chaos under control

Chaos goes to doggie jail.

Chaos has gone to the pound.

Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson ordered that Chaos, an 18-month old pit bull, be taken from his owners, Rebecca and Jonathan Gilbert. Chaos, the judge said, is “obviously a dangerous dog.”

The Gilberts have had 16 different dogs taken by Mesa County Animal Services since July of last year. Their story appeared April 21 in The Daily Sentinel. The problems with Chaos — he has roamed the neighborhood alone, killed at least one other dog and aggressively fought with other dogs — and the Gilberts’ other dogs have plagued a quiet Fruitvale neighborhood in the 3100 block of Kennedy Avenue for the past 2 1/2 years.

Earlier this month the Gilberts said they moved out of the neighborhood and moved in with a friend in the 500 block of Stanford Way. But that was not enough for them to save their dog.

Animal Services officer Beth Smith told the court her department has had multiple encounters with Chaos and the other dogs the Gilberts had continued to acquire over the years. The court has ordered the Gilberts to cage Chaos and have him neutered, but the orders largely have been ignored, Smith said.

The court also ordered Animal Services to take custody of Crystal, another of the Gilberts’ dogs, and for the Gilberts to pay for the care the dog received from Animal Services. As of Thursday, Crystal had stayed 177 days with Animal Services and gave birth to seven puppies.

After Henderson ruled from the bench, Rebecca Gilbert walked outside the courtroom, grabbed a bench in the hallway and began to cry.

Henderson called his task of ordering Chaos and Crystal impounded “not a very pleasant one.” He added the Gilberts left him little choice in the matter.

At a previous hearing, before Judge Gretchen Larson, the Gilberts were ordered to put Chaos in a secure kennel and have him neutered. The Gilberts had Chaos penned for a time, but not since they moved to their new residence.

“The problem here is that there is an ongoing problem with these two dogs,” Henderson said. “If I do not take this rather tough move at this time, the public is not going to be safe.”

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Morisseau said the Gilberts were operating an illegal business. The couple bred pit bulls for sale without a license from the state.

“If they want it as a business, they need to treat it as a business,” Morisseau said, “especially when that business is to create dogs that kill other dogs.”

The Gilberts said little in their defense.

Jonathan Gilbert said Animal Services went above and beyond what was needed to care for Crystal and the birth of her puppies.

Penny McCarty, director of Animal Services, took the stand and replied: “The expectations for us are much higher.”

After the hearing, the Gilberts declined to comment.

McCarty said she was saddened by the whole affair.

“It is always sad when we have to go to this level, but sometimes we have to do that in the interest of public safety or animal welfare,” she said.


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