PUEBLO COUNTY — The Pueblo animal shelter's former manager and veterinarian are now facing criminal charges, after a state investigation revealed numerous violations earlier this year. The investigation ultimately lead to the group "PAWS for Life" giving up control of the shelter. The facility is now under the management of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Pueblo County District Attorney Jeff Chostner confirmed with News5 Tuesday both Linda Mitchell and Joel Brubaker are facing the charges for alleged crimes that occurred under their oversight.
Mitchell, the former manager, faces ten different misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Brubaker, the veterinarian, is also facing ten misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Some of the charges are identical between the pair, but not all of them.
The maximum sentence, if convicted for Mitchell and Brubaker would be 18 months per count.
Under PAWS for Life leadership, 14 animals died. On a Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) inspection form, inspectors observed cases where multiple animals did not receive care in an adequate time frame.
PAWS for Life posted the following statement to its Facebook page Tuesday:
The PAWS For Life Board of Directors took immediate corrective action when we became aware of the situation at CASP. We have cooperated fully in the investigation and interview process and are confident justice will be served for the terrible acts that occurred at the expense of innocent animals. The actions of a few should not continue to impact PAWS and our ongoing mission of helping the animals in the community of Pueblo. The current staff at PAWS was not involved in the events at CASP and work hard daily to care for Pueblo’s animals. PAWS has been active in the community for over 41 years and has saved thousands of lives, we will continue to remain strong in our mission as we move forward. Thank you for your continued support as we help improve our community and care for its animals.
Both Mitchell and Brubaker are scheduled for arraignments on October 30th.