New Hope Rescue owner found guilty of animal cruelty

COLORADO SPRINGS — The owner of New Hope Rescue, Inc., investigated for malpractice in September 2021, was found guilty of animal cruelty on Friday.

Joann Roof was convicted of one count of animal cruelty and acquitted of a second count. Three counts of animal cruelty were dismissed by the district attorney’s office.

Roof will be sentenced on November 10. She could face up to a year in county jail and/or a $500 to $1,000 fine.

The closure of New Hope Rescue came after an investigation by the Humane Society’s Animal Law Enforcement Division of the Pikes Peak area in September 2021. The rescue failed to properly isolate the dogs with communicable diseases and failed to provide veterinary care early enough for sick and injured animals.

Canine tempera, a highly contagious disease that affects dogs, cats and wildlife, is often fatal. The disease can have permanent effects on the health of surviving animals.

According to Nick Fisher, program section chief of the Pet Care Facilities Act (PACFA), New Hope Rescue knew that the facility they were sourcing their animals from had distemper, but still brought animals.

In 2020, shelters and rescues in Colorado imported more than 50,000 animals, according to the Department of Agriculture. Shelters and rescues across the state involved sick animals from other states infecting animals in Colorado.

Dogs showing signs of distemper were not properly quarantined at the shelter. According to court documents, Roof continued to adopt animals even though they were fatally ill.

Fisher said in 2021, Colorado received 34 complaints about New Hope Rescue, Inc. The owner also failed six inspections.

New Hope Rescue, Inc. received a cease and desist order from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. All animal care has been suspended.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture seized nearly 40 animals. The animals that were in the care of New Hope Rescue have been transferred to the Dumb Friends League.