Dog Receiving Care at Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region After Beating
Colorado Springs man charged with felony animal cruelty
January 12, 2021 Colorado Springs, CO – In early December, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR)’s Animal Law Enforcement (ALE) officers began an in-depth investigation into reports of a man beating a dog named Cooper.
After speaking with multiple witnesses, collecting evidence, and inspecting the dog himself, ALE officers took custody of Cooper, a 1 ½-year-old 35 lb. terrier-type dog, for his safety. An acquaintance of Cooper’s owner, 22-year-old Christian Lance Balkham of Colorado Springs, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals by ALE, which is a felony. In addition to receiving a felony summons for animal cruelty, Balkham was also arrested by Colorado Springs Police Department on unrelated charges.
Cooper is now being cared for by a HSPPR foster, and our veterinary team is treating his wounds and injuries. Cooper has severe trauma to both his eyes, which has rendered him blind at this time. He is currently being seen by an eye specialist who will determine if he is a candidate to have surgery to potentially restore his vision in one eye within the next few weeks. In addition to the eye injuries, he has recent and older fractures to his ribs, suggesting abuse continued over time. He also has abrasions on his paws consistent with being dragged, as well as a tail injury that is now improving. You can see pictures of Cooper here.
“Sadly, our evidence leads us to believe that Cooper was intentionally harmed, repeatedly over a period of time, by the individual charged,” said Jamie Norris, Director of ALE. “This has been a very emotional case for our officers, and we are glad Cooper is safe and receiving the care he needs. We thank the community members who spoke up on Cooper’s behalf and called ALE. Without them stepping up, Cooper may have remained in this situation. HSPPR encourages members of the public to call ALE when they witness suspected abuse.”
Cooper’s owner has also been charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals for housing Cooper in an unsafe environment and not getting Cooper timely and appropriate veterinary care.
Jamie Norris, Director of ALE, Julie Crosby, Director of Veterinary Services, and Cooper are available between 12:30-1:30 p.m. today, Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at the Animal Law Enforcement building at HSPPR, to talk about Cooper and this case.
To donate toward Cooper’s eye surgery and continued medical care, please visit www.hsppr.org/cooper. Due to Cooper being involved in a felony investigation, he is not available for adoption at this time.
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is the largest nonprofit animal shelter in southern Colorado. Serving nearly 24,000 animals a year, HSPPR provides adoption options, animal cruelty investigations, subsidized spays/neuters, a Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats, and other important services. Its Bite Blotter is used to track the quantity, severity, victim types and locations of domestic animal bites to create a safer and more informed community. Rated four stars by Charity Navigator, HSPPR is a local, independent nonprofit that relies on donations from the community to fund its many humane programs. For more information, visit www.hsppr.org.