Sometimes the story begins at the end. Sadly for Buddy, a German Shepherd mix, this is one of those times. His story ended early last Wednesday morning when his body was found at the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction.
After being tied to a truck, track marks in the snow tell the story of Buddy’s last moments. First he walked. Then he ran. When he collapsed, his body was dragged then dumped.
Joan Anzelmo, superintendent of the monument, told The Denver Post that Buddy was “forced to run up one of the steepest hills at the monument. During the 3 miles, the dog had to run on about 2 inches of snow, around multiple switchbacks and sharp curves that gained more than 1,000 feet in elevation before the animal collapsed and died.”
To make the story even more heartbreaking, Buddy was stolen from the back of Joe and Sasha Leber’s truck, along with their other dog Max, while they were eating brunch in a café. While Max was returned safely, Buddy was clearly not so fortunate.
“We looked in the back of our truck, because it’s pretty unusual for them not to be there. We start calling for them, then a lady comes out,” Joe said. “She asked if that truck was ours, we told her yeah. She said three Hispanic males stole our dogs out of the back of the truck.”
Tips lead to the arrest of 37 year-old Steven Clay Romero, who was picked up outside of a courthouse while there dealing with unrelated charges. Video surveillance from the monument confirms him driving in with Buddy and out without him. A police search of Romero’s home also turned up rope that matched what was tied around Buddy’s neck.
Romero’s sister, 32 year-old Melissa Lockhart, is now facing felony theft charges for stealing Buddy.
Please take a minute to sign the petition asking that Romero receive the maximum sentence of three years in federal prison, and up to a $100,000 fine, and one year of mandatory parole for this insidiously cruel and senseless crime.