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October 18, 2023

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Boulder County resident wanted in animal cruelty case

Warrant issued for George Bernard Benyard for killing dog

Boulder County, Colo. - On October 5, 2023, an arrest warrant was issued for George Bernard Benyard, a 28-year-old resident of Boulder County, Colorado, for the charges of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and Tampering with Physical Evidence, both of which are class 6 felonies. The charges stem from an investigation by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office that started on September 15, 2023, at an address in the 10800 block of Empire Road in unincorporated Boulder County. Benyard is alleged to have knowingly and needlessly killed one of his pet dogs then attempted to conceal his actions by tampering with physical evidence. Benyard’s whereabouts are unknown at this time and investigators have been actively trying to locate him since the warrant was issued by the courts.

Over the course of the days leading up to Monday, September 18, deputies and detectives with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office learned that Benyard had allegedly told acquaintances that the bathroom of his residence was a “murder scene,” displayed a photograph of a very bloody bathroom, and described having killed someone at his home on Empire Road, along with soliciting help in disposing of the body. Detectives with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office were able to obtain a search warrant for the property. Given the severity of the alleged offense and the belief that Benyard had access to firearms and other potential weapons, the Boulder County SWAT Team served the search warrant on September 18, 2023. Benyard and his wife were brought in for questioning while other investigators remained at the property to begin processing it for evidence.

While processing the scene, investigators found the body of an adult pit bull secreted under a bush on the property. A necropsy revealed that the dog had been recently killed, neither by accident nor by another animal, and had suffered several traumatic injuries. Investigators were later able to determine through digital evidence that the dog had very likely belonged to Benyard, though he denied having any knowledge of the dog’s existence or how it was killed.

With assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, investigators learned that blood found at the scene was not human, so we were able to rule out a homicide. On October 5, 2023, the lead investigator obtained an arrest warrant for the arrest of George Bernard Benyard for the charges listed above for the alleged needless killing of one of his pet dogs. Benyard had three other dogs in the home that were placed into protective custody at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley on September 18 during the initial search warrant service.

Agencies assisting the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in this investigation include: Boulder County Digital Forensics Lab, Boulder Police Department, Lafayette Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Boulder District Attorney’s Office, Boulder Emergency Squad, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States, Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, and ANDE (a local company, headquartered in Longmont, that provides forensic rapid DNA technology to government agencies worldwide).

The associated BCSO case number for this investigation is 23-05108.

As in every criminal case, these charges are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.


/s/Detective Sergeant Clay Leak