Colo man to plead guilty in dragging death of dog |

Colo man to plead guilty in dragging death of dog

Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post

On bad days, Buddy would lay his head on Sacha Leber’s lap, lick her tears away and listen patiently to her troubles, his blue eyes staring intently into hers.

The German shepherd mix was later stolen, taken to Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction, and dragged to death behind a pickup truck.

The brutality of Buddy’s death stunned people around the world. It sparked the “Demand Justice for Buddy” Internet campaign by dog lovers, garnering more than a quarter-million supporters.

Steven Clay Romero, 37, of Grand Junction, the man who allegedly tied a rope around Buddy’s neck and dragged him, has agreed to a plea deal.

An attorney for Romero filed a motion Thursday in U.S. District Court indicating that he intended to change his plea to guilty, according to court records.

Romero is charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and faces up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine, according to court records. The details of the plea deal were not revealed.

Leber, 25, and her husband, Joseph, a coal miner at Oxbow Mining, went to the Delta County Humane Society to find a dog five years ago, she said Saturday.

A worker there told them about a dog that had been beaten severely while tied up. It had been stand-offish with other families and was supposed to be destroyed within hours.

The Lebers went back to pet the dog and “he wanted us,” she said.

“Oh, wow. It was like fate. He was a good dog, and he was meant for someone who was going to take good care of him,” Leber said.

The family grew. The year after Buddy joined the household, Isaac was born; a year later Owen; and a year after that, Alyssa. Another dog, Max, a Labrador mix, also joined the family.

Buddy was gentle with the kids.

“He would just lay there and the kids would love on him,” Leber said. “He was such a big dog he couldn’t be a lap dog even though he wanted to be. He would lay his head on your lap, then a paw, and then try to climb on top of you. He was a very awesome dog.”

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