A La Plata County couple who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty last year faces jail time after authorities found multiple animals at their home – a violation of the terms of their probation.
In November 2017, authorities executed a massive animal seizure on the property of Elizabeth and Jeffery Jackson in southwest La Plata County after a lengthy investigation into the mistreatment of animals.
Initially, the couple was charged with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty after animals were found living in cages filled with urine and feces, had injuries that went untreated, and lacked access to food and water. Authorities also found dead animal carcasses that had not been removed, as well as construction nails and other hazardous material strewn about the property.
In one instance, a horse was in such poor condition it had to be euthanized.
Ultimately, the Jacksons struck a plea agreement, which called for three years’ probation, during which time the couple were not allowed to have animals in their possession.
At the time, 6th Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne said the case against the Jacksons “looks to be more about mental health issues and poverty instead of intentionally hurting the animals.”
“This is a very different situation from people who intentionally hurt an animal,” Champagne said. “This is more of a sad case of people who thought they were loving animals and clearly were not.”
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Burke said authorities received an anonymous tip earlier this month that the Jacksons once again had animals on their property.
Authorities conducted a search Aug. 5 and found several animals, including dogs, cats, horses and goats.
The Jacksons claimed the animals weren’t theirs, Burke said. Still, possessing animals at their property violates the terms of their probation, he said.
According to court documents, the Jacksons’ probation officer asked the couple in July if they were in possession of any animals, and they said no.
At a court hearing Monday, La Plata County Judge Dondi Osborne said the Jacksons could face up to 18 months in jail if found to have violated their probation.
The Jacksons did not speak Monday, other than to say they needed to retain a public defender.
A new court hearing on the matter was set for Aug. 31.
Also as part of their plea deal, the Jacksons were ordered to pay about $18,000 in restitution each. To date, each has paid about $100.
Burke said the animals found earlier this month were in good condition. It was not immediately known Monday morning whether the animals were seized.
Elizabeth Jackson is sometimes referred to in court documents by her maiden name, Miera.