Shmucks of the Week: dog abusers

Dog days.
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Dogs are annoying. They whine, beg, bite, bark and poop. They stink and shed and jump on your guests. They have to be walked and yelled at and taken to the vet. Most pet owners allege that dogs are worth all that trouble, however, and judging by the number of canines visible on any given day in Colorado, there must be something to that.

And although some people may have fantasized about shooting or injuring (or secretly feeding chocolate to) that stupid freaking mongrel who lives in the yard next door and barks all freaking day, they don’t do it. Because, well, it just ain’t right.

Not the case for a quarter of dog owners who all made the news last week for killing, maiming or severing injuring the canines in their care:

In Rifle, Daniel Eliseo Zepeda Perez, 37, was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $1,000 in medical costs after his two-year-old mastiff Dora died. Authorities said Perez allowed the animal to nearly starve and suffered infections and injuries that forced her to drag her back legs behind her.

In Greeley, Paula Harding, 33, was arrested after she gave Xanax to her fifteen-year-old terrier poodle mix and then shot it four times with a .22-caliber handgun. Harding said the dog was sick and that she couldn’t afford a vet to put the animal down. Police decided not to charge Harding, however, after deciding that it had indeed been very ill.

In Aurora, Kristy Knecht, 30, was sentenced to ninety days in jail and ninety days of home detention after starving her two dogs to the point where one of them died and the surviving animal was forced to eat the dead one to live. Knecht, who pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty, will also have to get mental health counseling and won’t be allowed to have an animal in her home for three years. The surviving dog, a Belgian Malinois named Neeko, weighed only thirty pounds – half of what it should have – when officers were called to her home last year. He has since been adopted.

And in Lakewood, a woman was accused of tying her six-year-old Yorkshire terrier to a phone book on October 19 and setting it on fire on the kitchen stove. Bobo was burned over 40 percent of its body and is being cared for at an animal hospital. Tanya Martin, 38, is in the Jefferson County Jail facing felony charges of arson and cruelty to animals.

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

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.