Linda Robbins cleared of animal cruelty but may still lose her beloved Lhasa Apso dogs

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Lost forever?
A Colorado pet owner accused of abusing or neglecting his animals will most likely lose those animals -- whether he's guilty or not.

That's what happened to Bill Lee, a mall Santa whose reindeer were seized and whose story we told in our feature "Santa is Grounded." And the same scenario looms before Linda Robbins, who has at least temporarily lost custody of her fifteen Lhasa Apso dogs even though she was acquitted of animal cruelty in Greeley last week.

Robbins, a 62-year-old retail clerk, was staying with friends in Greeley this past August after losing her rental home in Englewood because of that city's limit on the number of pets an owner can keep, says Elizabeth Lamb Kearney, Robbins's lawyer. Greeley is more animal-friendly and Robbins was trying to find a home there.

In the meantime, she rented a van to transport her fifteen Lhasa Apsos, Kearney says. Robbins doted on the dogs, cooking them homemade food and grooming them frequently. She'd started with just two dogs, a male and a female she bought from a breeder nine years ago. The pair had two litters and Robbins was unable to place all of the puppies, though she says she had several homes lined up when the dogs were seized.

"I miss my dogs," Robbins says. "Try to picture someone taking your children. In a lot of ways, that's what this is. They're like your family."

On August 4, Robbins took her dogs to a park. When she returned to the apartment building where she was staying with a friend, she went inside to get the dogs some water. An animal control officer was waiting for her when she came out. A man walking his own dog had heard barking coming from Robbins's van and called the police. The animal control officer told Robbins it was illegal to keep dogs in an unattended vehicle and handed her a ticket for fifteen counts of illegal confinement and fifteen counts of neglect.

But that wasn't the last of it.

Continue for more of Robbins's story.


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