The owner of a Fort Collins dog training and boarding facility accused of animal cruelty will plead her case in front of a jury this fall.

Larimer Humane Society last October cited Tami Carrasco for animal cruelty after a 13-week-old purebred German shepherd, Baron, was returned by the school to his owners with blunt force trauma and injuries that resulted in the surgical removal of the dog’s right eye.

Baron, now a year old, lost his eye in 2012 after being returned to his owners from American Dog School in Fort Collins with blunt force trauma and injuries that resulted in the surgical removal of the dog’s right eye. Tami Carrasco, owner of the facility, is set for jury trial in October after being cited for animal cruelty last year. / Courtesy of Tiffany Brown

Carrasco, who has owned American Dog School for more than 20 years and received multiple accolades from clients and the “Best of Fort Collins” awards, had been training the puppy for five or six sessions before he was boarded at the facility.

Carrasco refused in April a plea bargain that would have required an anger management evaluation, no contact with animals during 24 months of unsupervised probation and no jail time in exchange for a guilty plea.

In a Thursday disposition, she pleaded not guilty to the alleged misdemeanor offense and requested a two-day jury trial, set to begin Oct. 2. Joseph Gavaldon, Carrasco’s attorney, said he “fully expects” expert testimony during the trial.

If found guilty, Carrasco could face 6-18 months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000.

A veterinarian’s report from Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital, provided by Baron’s owner, detailed multiple fractures to the puppy’s face and a condition where a pocket of blood forms behind the eyeball. All injuries were confirmed by a CT scan of Baron’s skull.

A veterinarian at the hospital told the Coloradoan shortly after Baron was evaluated that his injuries were similar to the trauma a dog would experience in a “head-on collision with a car.”

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