The Humane Society of the United States recently ranked Colorado’s animal-protection laws among the top 10 for overall effectiveness. But, this past Friday, the Weld County Prosecutor’s Office determined that timing provisions in those laws are not enough to justify charging an undercover animal-rights investigator with animal cruelty.
Prosecutors dismissed the charge against Taylor Radig, a contract investigator for the group Compassion Over Killing, just before a jury trial that might have occurred as early as this week. She was charged in November after an investigation by the Weld County Sheriff’s office found the Compassion Over Killing investigator waited too long before reporting apparent mistreatment of calves at a cattle facility located about 60 miles north of Denver.
The county district attorney’s office issued a statement saying that, while the sheriff had sufficient probable cause to arrest Radig, it was the opinion of the DA’s office that it was not likely that the offense could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigator, whose videotape of the acts of animal cruelty was turned over to the sheriff’s office about two months after it occurred, was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Radig worked as a temporary employee at the Quanah Cattle Co. near Kersey, CO, from July to September 2013. After her initial report, three men who worked at Quanah were charged with animal cruelty by the county and fired by the company.
Colorado does not have a so-called “ag-gag” law, which often have quick reporting mandates. The Centennial State does require animal abuse to be reported in a timely manner. Animal welfare groups that do investigations into alleged abuse say they need time to show a pattern of activity which is not possible when instant reporting is required.
The case Radig was investigating largely involved mistreatment during the transport of calves, and the acts depicted in the videotape were roundly condemned by cattle and agricultural groups in Colorado.© Food Safety News