4

Shmuck: Roll over and play dead

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Again with the animals? Poor Rover. Poor Fluffy.

Why is it that we humans take out our aggressions on our pets. Why do we put them in the middle of battles over money and politics? Why? Okay, well, for one, they are annoying and they smell bad. Oh, and they are expensive and obnoxious and chew up everything in the house or piss on it. But still, it seems these creatures are abused and killed in far higher numbers than they deserve -- especially since they can't talk, they're cute and they don't have opposable thumbs.

Two entities -- both charged with the care of animals -- were accused of wrongdoing by authorities this week, but in very different ways.

On Wednesday, Zackary Scott Ruszka, 20, was charged with animal cruelty after Arvada police said he shot and killed his girlfriend's small black terrier at her house with a bow and arrows, according to a story in the Denver Post.

Ruszka and another man had been left in charge of the house by the girlfriend and her parents, who had gone to California because of a family emergency. The other man left for a while and returned to find the dead dog with several arrows in its body. He also discovered that the furniture in the living room had been destroyed, so he called the police. Ruszka is in jail on $5,000 bond.

The same day, the Colorado Attorney General's office sued the Colorado Humane Society, accusing the family who runs it of accounting and reporting irregularities and of spending shelter money on themselves. The state also alleged that the facility, which often bills itself as a "no-kill" shelter, euthanizes nearly 30 percent of its animals.

Attorney General John Suthers asked a judge to appoint a custodian to operate the Englewood shelter. Colorado Humane Society executive director Mary Warren, her husband, Robert Warren, and Mary Warren's daughter, Stephenie Gardner, were all named in the complaint, according to another Denver Post report.

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.

Then again, if they're adopting to people armed with bows and arrows, that might be for the best.

For previoius Shmucks, see our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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