A La Plata County man accused of mistreating more than 100 animals has been barred by court order from owning another animal for three years.
Law enforcement accused Jeffery Jackson of 115 counts of animal cruelty after La Plata County Animal Protection seized dozens of animals – including dogs, cats, goats, a duck and horses – from his southwest La Plata County home. Jackson pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and has been sentenced to three years of probation.
Elizabeth Jackson, a co-defendant, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years of probation. Both declined to comment for this story.
La Plata County Judge Dondi Osborne at a sentencing hearing Wednesday called the conditions of the property “deplorable” – recalling one shih tzu stuck to carpet by dried feces.
The agreement between Jeffery Jackson and the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office “ensures conviction,” Osborne said. It requires probation for three years with a condition that he not own animals and allow law enforcement to search his property to ensure no livestock or pets are on the premises, the same conditions the judge ordered for Elizabeth Jackson.
“The house was described as having feces and carcasses of animals that died and had not been removed,” Osborne said. “If you can’t afford to ensure ready and abundant food for animals – it’s your responsibility to relinquish it. Decency demands it.”
Defense attorney John Baxter said his client “really cared for his animals.” Assistant District Attorney David Ottman said evidence does not show that the Jacksons harmed the animals with intent.
“This family loved their animals,” he said, repeating his argument from the co-defendant’s case. “But they literally loved some animals to death.”
The case against the Jackson’s “looks to be more about mental health issues and poverty instead of intentionally hurting the animals,” said District Attorney Christian Champagne, in an interview.
“This is a very different situation from people who intentionally hurt an animal,” he said. “This is more of a sad case of people who thought they were loving animals and clearly were not.”
If Jackson violates the terms of his probation, Osborne could sentence him to one year in jail as a condition of his guilty plea. Jackson is required to complete 50 hours of useful public service and pay restitution in the amount of more than $18,000.