Steamboat Springs A golden retriever's talent for escaping from the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter is the reason a 37-year-old man was allegedly caught illegally entering the building.
Cindy DelValle, animal control officer for Routt County, was on her way home the evening of Sept. 26 when she remembered she had to take care of some business at the shelter at 760 Critter Court.
"I hardly work late," said DelValle, a 12-year veteran. "But I had to come back to the shelter to secure a dog in a room. She is kind of an escape artist."
The dog DelValle is referring to is Lady, who recently gave birth to six puppies.
Lady "had escaped earlier in the day," she said. "I was real nervous, so I came back to secure her in a room."
To DelValle's surprise, Lady was not the one she found trying to escape from the shelter at about 8 p.m.
"I drove up in the parking lot and there was this man with a puppy an officer had brought in earlier in the day," she said.
DelValle called Steamboat Springs police, who arrested the man.
Curt William Schultz faces a felony charge of second-degree burglary for allegedly entering the shelter and removing his pet from a kennel.
Schultz's bond was set at $5,000. He was able to pay that amount Sept. 29.
"He is in a heap of trouble," Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
Initially, Schultz told police that when he pulled up to the shelter, his dog came running out of the building, Fiebing said. But police didn't believe that story because Schultz's clothes were dirty.
"His pants had the same color of dirt that is in front of the metal door," Fiebing said.
To get in the building, Schultz allegedly crawled through an opening, used for dogs, on a side door at the shelter, he said.
Police became more suspicious when DelValle told police the puppy could not have gotten out of a kennel on its own.
"There was no way the puppy could have got out of the kennel by itself," DelValle said. "It is too small to jump out of the kennel. Someone had to let it out."
Later Schultz admitted to police he entered the building, Fiebing said.
Schultz allegedly said to an officer, "I did go into the building only to see if she was inside," Fiebing said. "Once I got inside, she was crying, so I took her."
DelValle is disappointed in Schultz's alleged attempt.
"I was surprised to see someone here doing this," she said. "But this is not the first time someone tried to release their dog themselves."
Had the man waited, he could have picked up the puppy the next day and paid a fee of at least $70, she said.
"All he had to do was wait," she said. "Who knows what it will cost him now.
"If he had waited, he would not face the criminal charge and all the hassle that goes with it.
"People should be patient and wait until the next day to get their pet."
Schultz is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. Nov. 7.