Crime

Dennis Craven Charged in Death of Sixty Cats That Lived in House Turned Litter Box

The animal control officers who inspected Dennis Craven's home wore hazmat suits, and no wonder. Judging by video shot inside (it's on view below), his residence was as risky for people as it was lethal for cats. A total of 23 were located dead inside, including "three-and-a-half" found under a refrigerator. And that wasn't the end of the carnage, which has resulted in criminal charges against Craven.

See also: Joan Zalk Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty for Running Chihuahua From Moving Car

Last month, KRDO-TV reported that personnel from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region headed to the 300 block of Pecos Drive in Security-Widefield, an area seen in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

Joe Stafford, director of animal law enforcement for the agency, told KRDO that his staff had been trying to resolve the situation for several weeks -- "but we finally had to take action."

This screen capture from an animal-control officer video shared with the station gives an indication of the shocking conditions found within.

In addition to piles of feces, the team found sixty cats. As noted above, 23 of them were dead, leaving 37 still alive. However, the survivors were found to have feline calicivirus, an ailment that made them highly contagious. As a result, the Humane Society reluctantly chose to euthanize them. Neighbors reported such a foul scent coming from the home that at least one wondered if the property would have to be condemned.

Craven, for his part, is said to have been uncooperative with authorities, and he didn't speak to KRDO, which caught this glimpse of him on camera:

Now, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Craven has been formally charged with sixty misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty -- one for each of the cats that died.

Possible punishment ranges from probation to eighteen months behind bars.

Craven's arraignment is scheduled for December 16. Look below to see the KRDO report.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts