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Shane Michael Thompson appears in court at the Boulder County Justice Center in Boulder on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Shane Michael Thompson appears in court at the Boulder County Justice Center in Boulder on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

A Lafayette man accused of failing to provide adequate care for the 10 pit bulls, two chinchillas, two boa constrictors and the bearded dragon he was living with in a garage was sentenced to probation after accepting a plea deal in his cases.

Shane Thompson, 30, pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and ownership of a dangerous dog, both misdemeanors, on Nov. 16. The plea deal resolved three cases that arose from the allegations, as prosecutors dismissed 18 felony animal cruelty counts as well as a related witness tampering case.

On Wednesday, Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill sentenced Thompson to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service.

Boulder Deputy District Attorney Jenny McClintock asked for three years of probation and Thompson’s attorney Brian Emeson asked for one, but Mulvahill ultimately stuck with the two years recommended by the probation department following a pre-sentence investigation.

“I don’t think that three years is necessary, and I don’t think one year is enough,” Mulvahill said.

In addition to mental health evaluations, anger management and required animal classes, Mulvahill said Thompson will not be allowed to own animals during his probation sentence without court approval due to his “alarming” history with animals, which includes a prior animal cruelty case in Florida.

“Before you can have another pet, you’re going to have to demonstrate you can lawfully and appropriately care for them,” Mulvahill said.

According to an arrest affidavit, Thompson’s roommates on March 14, 2019, told police they were attacked by Thompson’s pit bulls, with one of the roommates suffering a broken arm and lacerations that required surgery.

That report led to police serving a warrant at the house, where police discovered Thompson lived in a garage with three adult pit bulls, seven pit bull puppies, two boa constrictors, two chinchillas, a bearded dragon and some fish.

Police said most of the animals were underfed, had injuries and were held in cages or containers that were too small and were not cleaned in what McClintock called “deplorable conditions.”

There were feces everywhere, urine everywhere, and the smell was just unbearable,” McClintock said.

McClintock also said she was concerned by some of the statements Thompson made that she felt indicated a lack of responsibility on top of his prior criminal history.

“It’s just really concerning to the people the pattern of abuse and neglect he has shown over the past 10 years,” she said.

Emeson said Thompson does dispute some of the individual allegations in the case, which is why the case had been set for trial at one point. But Emeson said Thompson ultimately pleading guilty was an acceptance of responsibility.

“He understands this is a concerning situation, he understands people got hurt,” Emeson said. “He also recognizes he can do better by his animals.”

Thompson also told Mulvahill he was going to school for a master’s degree and was working on his financial and housing situation.

“I have tried so hard to dig out of this hole,” Thompson said. “I have been moving forward, and I will continue moving forward.”

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