An investigation that began in late August recently led to the arrest of a Fort Collins, Colo., woman for suspected cruelty and neglect to animals.

Last month, the Bureau of Animal Protection contacted the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office regarding the welfare of livestock observed at a property in the 2900 block of West Mulberry Street.

Upon receiving the call, LCSO deputies and a Bureau of Animal Protection veterinarian visited the Fort Collins residence to investigate. According to the sheriff's office, large amounts of trash, debris, and other hazards were visible from the edge of the property.

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A horse and llama were also present on-site. LCSO Deputy Maxwell, a certified Equine Investigator, identified signs of malnourishment in the horse. The llama reportedly showed signs of neglect too.

Larimer County Sheriff's Office, Facebook/Canva
Larimer County Sheriff's Office, Facebook/Canva

After contacting the homeowner, Fran Fleming, 78, deputies determined that the animals lacked access to clean water, sufficient feed, or veterinary care. They also learned that two additional llamas had lived on the property but recently died. Fleming refused to allow deputies or the veterinarian to enter the property to further inspect the animals’ welfare.

With that, deputies went forth and obtained an official search warrant for the property, which led to the rescue of several animals. The horse and llama were removed and placed with local rescues where they will receive proper veterinary care. Multiple chickens, both living and deceased, were also discovered on the property; and a rooster with significant health problems was taken to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital where it was euthanized.

The Southwest Llama Rescue and Dumb Friends League assisted law enforcement in facilitating rescue resources.

On September 25, Fleming was arrested on two counts of Cruelty to Animals (M1). The charges are merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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