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Pikes Peak Courier View 5

August 1, 2012

Animal shelter to the rescue By Pat Hill It was raining cats and dogs last month at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter. By the time the drama around the fires was all over - the evacuations, the threat of the area going up in flames - the shelter had taken in 120 dogs and cats. On a normal day, 50 dogs and cats stay at the shelter before being adopted. The organized chaos started with the Springer Fire near Lake Georgen when TCRAS took in 20 dogs and cats, each returned to their homes within a few days. “Three days later the Waldo Canyon Fire started,” said Mary Steinbeiser, shelter manager. “So we were ramping back up again.” From pre-evacuation notices to the real thing June 27, Teller County residents headed for the shelter, forming a line of cars, 120 of them. “We’d greet them outside, have them leave the animals in the car, come in and fill out the paperwork,” Steinbeiser said. Gradually, the staff developed a routine over the next six days. In a kind of choreographed dance,

when the staff cleaned the kennels, volunteers walked the dogs or played with the cats. “Those animals would come back in and another group would go out,” Steinbeiser said. Throughout the week, help seemed to arrive from left field. “Compassion Sheltering in Colorado Springs just showed up one day with their big truck full of cages, air-conditioned,” she said. The business specializes in transporting animals in disaster situations. “They were a life-saver. We used the units to house some of the animals,” she said. Other help arrived from four volunteers with Pet Aid, a state organization dedicated to serving in disasters. “They deployed people from Vail, Pine, Aurora and even one from Nebraska,” Steinbeiser said. The drama ended on July 2, when all pets returned safely home. On a side note, there were no fees attached to the rescue mission. In addition to room and board, the animals were regularly checked by veterinarian Kevin Conrad, chief medical officer for TCRAS.

One of 120 “guests” at the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter, this one poses for a picture. Courtesy photo Today, TCRAS is in an unusual situation, with more dog food donated by grateful residents than they can handle. As a result of the overload, the organization is holding a fire sale on the food. “I think there are people in our community who would cherish having a bag of dog food at a reduced

cost,” Steinbeiser said. The sale is an effort to regain some of the $13,000 in expenses incurred during the evacuation period. The food is available at the shelter on Weaverville Road in Divide. For information, call 686-7707.

Suspect charged with murder in theater shootings Holmes faces 142 criminal counts in Aurora rampage By Deborah Grigsby James Eagan Holmes, the man believed to be behind the July 20 Aurora theater shooting, appeared in a packed Arapahoe County courtroom where he was formally charged with first-degree murder. With his once wild orange hair now combed, Holmes was led into the courtroom July 30 by two armed deputies as victims and family members of victims watched, many from behind dark glasses. Members of the media and onlookers craned their necks to garner a glimpse of the shackled suspect as he was seated beside his defense team. Six armed deputies remained inside the courtroom during the proceedings. More alert than in his previous court appearance, Holmes still struggled to focus his attention and even yawned on one occasion, but was able to exchange a few words with his attorney, acknowledging his understanding of a future hearing date. The charges, read by District Court Judge William B. Sylvester, include 24 counts of first-degree murder - two counts for each victim who died - 116 counts of criminal intent to comment murder and one count of illegal possession of explosives. Holmes was also charged with one count of a crime of violence, described by the court as a sentence enhancer that increases the sentencing range for the crime.

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Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers has yet to determine whether to seek the death penalty in the case. A preliminary hearing is set for the week of Nov. 12. Two issues argued by attorneys that may affect the trial include a request by the media to unseal the case file, as well as the determination of whether or not a notebook allegedly sent by

Holmes to a University of Colorado psychiatrist will be treated as privileged information. Attorneys plan to sort out issues regarding the media request at an Aug. 9 hearing at 1:30 p.m. No cameras, recorders or cell phones were allowed in the courtroom. The only courtroom images available from the hearing were produced by a sketch artist. Holmes, a 24-year-old former grad-

uate student, is being held in connection with the bloody movie theater rampage that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Authorities believe Holmes stockpiled weapons and ammunition for months before the incident and then booby-trapped his apartment before leaving for a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex.

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