Rifle man sentenced in animal cruelty case

A Rifle man was sentenced this week to a year on probation for abusing his 2-year-old dog, which later died.

Daniel Eliseo Zepeda Perez, 37, also was ordered to pay $4,000 to the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter in Garfield County and $5,584 in fines after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, according to Garfield County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis.

Sheriff’s deputies seized Dora, a mastiff, in June. At the time, the dog weighed 74 pounds but should have weighed between 120 and 140 pounds, McGinnis said.

Authorities said Dora had chronic hip pain and a severe infection from an old injury when she was a puppy. Prior to the seizure, the dog was unable to walk and had to drag her hind end to move about while mothering a litter of puppies.

Perez kept Dora on a short cable across a driveway from an unused dog house. She was surrounded by broken ceramic tiles and loose screws in a dirt area, authorities said.

“I can’t understand how such a sweet dog was allowed to suffer so greatly and in such pain,” Garfield County Animal Control Officer Aimee Chappelle said in a news release.

Several veterinarians and an orthopedic surgeon spent thousands of dollars and many hours working to save Dora, but the dog died, McGinnis said.

All of the puppies are healthy and have been adopted, she said.


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