Cynthia Van Wormer can’t understand why her neighbors care if she keeps 100 exotic birds, breeds them and sells them from her modest ranch home in Woodmoor, east of Monument.
She doesn’t understand why anyone thinks her Akita dogs were vicious or dangerous and had to be destroyed.
And she’s angry the county forced her to send her wolf-hybrids to a shelter in California.
She hopes her response to complaints will convince the El Paso County Commission to let her keep her menagerie. At least her birds and her business at her home.
“It’s really sad I can’t live and run a little business in my own home and be left alone,” Van Wormer said Wednesday.
She blames her neighbor, John Clark, for her problems. He has filed repeated complaints against Van Wormer over her animals. It goes back to 2002 when one of Van Wormer’s dogs, Kai, left her yard and attacked his golden retriever pups.
The humane society impounded Kai, held it 101 days before a judge released the dog and it returned home. A few months later, the dog died unexpectedly and Van Wormer blamed Clark.
Here is a look at the neighborhood from Google Earth:
Here is the packet of information prepared for El Paso County Commissioners by the code enforcement officers to be presented at Thursday’s meeting. Here is the second violation notice mailed in November.
Clark denies Van Wormer’s allegation that he poisoned Kai. And tests of the dog were inconclusive. She sued him anyway and won a small settlement.
Things intensified around 2009 when her bird collection grew to about 100, she got three new Akitas and two wolf-hybrids. She found herself facing complaints from Clark, other neighbors, the Woodmoor Improvement Association and the county.
In September, the three Akitas were destroyed after complaints about vicious fighting. And Van Wormer sent the wolf hybrids to a sanctuary in California a couple weeks ago after county complaints.
And she has sought a restraining order against Clark, accusing him of threatening her life.
He denies making any threats and cites her “erratic” behavior as the reason he’s thinking of moving. He said he is scared of her after a domestic dispute in her home in June 2000 led to her arrest for assault on a police officer. And he cited her use of a gun around 1999, shooting at someone in her home.
What about the shooting in 1999? She says an intruder threatened her life so she grabbed her husband’s gun and fired, being careful to aim about six inches to the side of the man’s head. The man fled and was not immediately caught.
Van Wormer said Thursday the man was caught, eventually, and is incarcerated. But she did not give his name and declined to answer any more questions from me about the incident.
What about that arrest back in June 2000? She said it happened after EL Paso County Sheriff’s deputies answered a call about a domestic dispute at the home. She wanted to throw her husband out of the house. She said he kicked the door in.
But when police arrived, she said one of the officers sexually assaulted her by placing both hands on her breasts and pushing her up against a wall to restrain her. She responded by slapping him. The slap was minor, she said, and didn’t even leave a red mark.
Here’s the police report of the incident. The arresting officers paint a much different, and darker, picture of events.