NewsCovering Colorado


State issues distemper warning after closing animal rescue

New Hope Rescue.jpg
Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 21:55:03-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — State officials with the Colorado Department of Agriculture are warning new pet owners in Colorado Springs to check their animals for distemper.

The announcement comes after regulators with the Department's Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA) section revoked the license of New Home Rescue, Incorporated on East Bijou Street.

Nick Fisher, the PACFA Program Section Chief said in a news release that emergency action was necessary because of the risk of spreading distemper in the community.

“CDA has serious concerns about the potential for the community spread of distemper through dogs from New Hope Rescue and through unknown exposure to dogs in the community via dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare facilities, and at retail establishments that allow dogs on-premises," Fisher said.

He urges people who either adopted or fostered dogs and cats from New Hope Rescue in the past 2 months to contact their veterinarian to get their animals checked.

Distemper is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs, cats, and wildlife. A total of 17 dogs and 30 cats were removed from the facility this week and taken to a shelter in Denver as the result of a parallel investigation between PACFA and Animal Welfare Officers with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

Rescue director Joann Roof is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. Authorities believe she failed to isolate sick dogs at the rescue and failed to provide them with timely veterinary care.

Court records indicate that this week's criminal charges are the latest in a series of animal abuse investigations against Roof dating back to early 2014.

Roof is currently scheduled to begin a criminal trial later this month in a felony animal cruelty case. Court documents from that earlier case indicate that Roof adopted out a puppy in July of 2020 which died the following morning. Roof told the puppy's new owner that the dog had recently recovered from kennel cough.