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Colorado Humane Society owners -- past Shmucks of the Week -- banned from operating a charity for a decade

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People in charge of a place called the Colorado Humane Society may not seem like logical candidates for Shmuck of the Week recognition. But back in December 2008, owners executive director Mary Warren, her husband, Robert Warren, and Mary Warren's daughter, Stephenie Gardner, more than earned this honor after Attorney General John Suthers sued CHS.

As Westword's Jonathan Shikes wrote at the time, "Among the allegations: that the shelter spent nearly half of the $66,000 it raised in donations to help animals affected by Hurricane Katrina on the payroll; that the shelter euthanized older dogs to make room for puppies, even though it advertised a policy of not killing animals; and that the society falsely reported the number of animals adopted."

Classy -- but it won't happen again for a good long time thanks to a settlement which prohibits the Warrens from operating or managing a charitable organization for ten years. And that's not all...

In addition, the Warrens have agreed not to open an animal shelter for at least five years. As for Gardner, she can't operate or manage a charitable enterprise for two years, and must stay out of the shelter biz for at least one.

Pets across the state are probably panting a sigh of relief about now.

Click here to read the stipulated motion for the entry of the consent decree, here to see the decree itself, and here to eyeball the trio's acknowledgment of the pact. And look below to read the AG office's release about CHS.


DENVER -- Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that the state has reached a settlement agreement with the former operators of the Colorado Humane Society. As part of the settlement, Robert Warren and Mary C. Warren are barred from operating or managing charitable organizations for the next decade. The Warrens also will be prohibited from owning or operating any business covered by the Colorado Pet Animal Care Facilities Act, such as an animal shelter, for the next five years.

Stephanie L. Gardner, who also helped run the Colorado Humane Society, will be barred from operating a charity for the next two years and operating any business covered by the Colorado Pet Animal Care Facilities Act for one year.

The Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County District Court against Gardner and the Warrens in December 2008 alleging that they, through the Colorado Humane Society, violated numerous provisions of Colorado law, including the Charitable Solicitations Act, Consumer Protection Act and the Revised Non-Profit Corporations Act. As part of the lawsuit, a judge placed the Colorado Humane Society's operations and assets under the supervision of a custodian. On the recommendations of the custodian, the court agreed in December to allow the sale of the Colorado Humane Society's assets, including its name.

"The fact that the Colorado Humane Society is no longer in operation today is a testament to the mismanagement and poor choices of the organization's former management," Suthers said. "This case should underline the reality that the managers of nonprofits throughout Colorado have a duty to manage their operations responsibly."

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