Animal-Protection Chief Scot Dutcher Admits He Could Have Been Smarter on Twitter

September 2010

Scot Dutcher, the chief of the Colorado Agriculture Department's Animal Protection Bureau, has come under fire lately for criticizing animal-rights groups on his Twitter account, Skinnyhorse. One tweet compares animals to inanimate objects and laments the fact that animals cannot simply be shot (via 7News). Another laments the felony animal-cruelty charge against Abby Toll, the former University of Colorado student who has since been convicted of taping her dog to the fridge.

Dutcher's words led Holly Tarry, the state director of the Humane Society of the United States, to announce that citizens shouldn't trust "a state employee charged with protecting animals [who] clocks in and spends his day churning out anti-animal-protection tweets." 

Dutcher, who had tweeted that he was an "unapologetic American" who was "anti-animal rights," also sarcastically wrote that people should "eat more polar bears" (via 9News). "Success over animal rights is the best revenge!" he wrote. "Meat is in higher demand, more entries, spectators in rodeo, etc..."

Now, after an onslaught of criticism, including calls for his firing, Dutcher is backing down.

"Could I have done things differently? Absolutely," he says.

Jim Miller, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, has said he supports Dutcher but declines to say if he has been punished as a result of the tweets. Still, the department is reviewing its policy on social networking. It is not clear how often Dutcher was tweeting on the job.