A former member of the board that regulates Colorado’s veterinarians faces animal cruelty allegations after authorities said pet birds were found living in bad conditions in her suburban Denver home.
Ellen Kessler, 72, was issued a summons to appear in court May 23 to answer to 13 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after a visitor tipped off authorities earlier this month, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Karlyn Tilley said Tuesday.
A woman who answered the phone at Kessler’s home said she had no comment.
According to the sheriff’s office, the birds were found by animal control officers living in Kessler’s basement with water and food but no sunlight and their cages and the floors were covered in seed, dirt and feces.
Flies and many mice, dead and alive, were also found, Tilley said.
Kessler agreed to have the birds taken to a veterinarian but one of the 13 birds was dead and another died at the veterinarian’s office, Tilley said. The other birds were suffering various health problems.
Kessler, an animal rights activist, was appointed to the board to represent the public by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis but resigned earlier this year after making critical comments about ranchers and the livestock industry.