Valerie Harris, accused serial animal abuser: Homes sought for rescued survivors

valerie harris mug shot cropped.jpg
Big photo below.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is seeking loving homes for more than sixty animals that were rescued from what Pueblo County authorities see as a terribly neglectful one.

Their past owner, Valerie Harris, has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals -- an accusation of the sort she's faced in the past.

abby pueblo horse.jpg
Abby, a twelve-year-old mare, can be yours.
As reported by KRDO-TV, Harris, who owns land in the Pueblo County community of Boone, has two previous animal abuse convictions on her record. In 2007, nineteen horses were seized from her property, prompting a similar adoption announcement later that same year. Then, in 2009, she was cited for neglect in regard to two maltreated dogs.

In January, however, the number of affected animals easily exceeded the total of these incidents. After receiving an anonymous tip, a fifteen member team featuring staffers from the Humane Society and Pueblo Animal Law Enforcement executed a warrant on Harris's property. There, they discovered 67 animals, including 34 equines (mostly horses, but donkeys and mules were also represented), 31 dogs (one of which was reportedly feeding on another dead animal to survive), a cat and a llama. And they were in bad shape.

"The animals were taken into protective custody due to inhumane conditions that were among the worst I have ever seen," said Joe Stafford, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region's Director of Animal Law Enforcement, in a HSPPR release. "There were starving and emaciated animals scattered throughout the property living in unimaginable circumstances."

The situation is captured in the following news report from January. Be prepared: some of the visuals are shocking.

Harris was released after her arrest, but she was soon back in the company of law enforcers. On February 16, according to the Pueblo Chieftain, she was busted again after Pueblo County deputies discovered seven dead horses on or near her property.

The Humane Society has been nursing the other animals back to health, and doing so hasn't been cheap: The costs are estimated at $20,000 so far. As such, donations are being sought to help cover the expense. To learn more, phone 719-473-1741, extension 8712, or send an e-mail to

As for Harris, she faces the potential of eighteen months in jail and a $100,000 fine for each animal she's found to have abused. Here's a larger look at her mug shot.

valerie harris mug shot.jpg
Valerie Harris.
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More from our Politics archive: "Animal abuse registry bill fails over concern people listed would be hounded forever."

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The title "Serial Animal Abuser" begs the question for me:

"how did she manage to accumulate new animals just as soon as the old ones were taken away, time and time again?" Do people give the horses to her because she had room on her property? Did she think she is "rescuing" them? She looks like she can barely look after herself, let alone a cat, never-mind 20 horses!

In my opinion, she is a straight up "Animal Hoarder". The features of this disease state are always one of living in squalor and a severely misguided self-image of an animal lover providing care to otherwise homeless animals. Do these people ever factor in the cost of what feeding 20 horses might be? or perhaps, a contingency plan for Vet bills?

A common feature of hoarders, is their incredible state of denial; they can't see where there is a problem. Extreme Hoarding is a mental illness, apparently a cognitive behavioral disorder.

Watch a few episodes of Extreme Hoarders: Buried Alive. One episode featured a couple feeding feral cats in their hovel of filth. As their garage was cleaned out, the cat carcasses started piling up, to the tune of 48 dead cats and counting; but in these people's mind, they were good people feeding stray cats. 

One episode showcased a kitchen complete with a 3 inch layer of cat feces on the stove top, and a typically whiny "oblivious-to-reality" hoarder wallowing in their garbage that no-one is allowed to touch or discard! 

Who polices this phenomenon when it comes to animals,  and sadly, children for that matter? By-law? Neighbors? The Police? Chances are that even after intervention, the "perps" are back in the same condition, like this 3 time offender Valerie Harris. 

This woman is not alone in her dysfunction;  this type of thing goes on in virtually every city across North America, ask any by-law enforcement agency, or watch a few episodes of Hoarding: buried Alive or the shows that feature Animal abuse. This also includes a lot of back-yard breeders that do not take care of their animals, but think having more puppies means making more money. Maybe jail time is the answer, at least this woman won't have access to any animals for the period of her incarceration.

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