Dan MacEachen, owner of the Krabloonik dog-sledding operation in Snowmass Village, has agreed to forfeit the right to eight animals seized from his business by the District Attorney’s Office in December.
The dogs were seized when representatives of the office executed a search warrant at the premises on Dec. 12 as part of an investigation. The district attorney charged MacEachen with eight counts of animal cruelty within the following week.
“Both parties stipulate and agree that Mr. MacEachen will not post a further bond to cover the care of the animals beyond what has been paid to date, and will forfeit any interest in or right to those animals,” the stipulation document says. “The impound agency may arrange a disposition for the animals.”
The impound agency is Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs. District Attorney Sherry Caloia said typically her office would leave the decision of how to manage the animals to the rescue facility, adding that hopefully it would find homes for the dogs.
MacEachen’s attorney, Greg Greer, and Caloia have agreed to and signed the stipulation, although it has not been signed by a judge. The document was filed Feb. 7.
Leslie Rockey, director of Colorado Animal Rescue, said the facility’s goal is to find placement for the dogs. The animals still need to be neutered, and their temperaments need to be evaluated for traits such as how they get along with other dogs, people and children, and how they respond to new experiences.
“It’s a normal thing that we do with all the dogs that come through the facility,” Rockey said. “Their history and then the lack of history we have on them specifically will make for … a little bit more of a process and maybe a little bit more rehabilitation before they actually go up for adoption.”
Colorado Animal Rescue sometimes euthanizes dogs for untreatable medical issues or “extreme behavioral situations,” Rockey said.
“They’ve made great progress while they’ve been here, and it’s been a wonderful experience watching the transformation of them physically and mentally, as well,” Rockey said.
Caloia said the agreement makes sense for both her office and MacEachen.
“As a practical matter, the case will most likely take several months to resolve,” Caloia said Friday. “To have the dogs impounded for that long is expensive for us and the defendant. ... To return the dogs to the defendant while the case is pending is not something that I would agree to. Until the ultimate issue is reached, it would be difficult for the judge to rule that they be returned, as well. So I think that this was the best resolution for both of us.”
Greer did not respond to a voicemail left at his office Friday.
PETA gets involved
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would like Caloia to seize all the dogs MacEachen owns.
The international organization sent out a statement Friday saying that it had sent a letter to Caloia requesting that MacEachen be relieved of all the animals he owns and prohibited from obtaining more if he is convicted.
“For those unwilling or unable to meet basic duties of ownership, being ‘in the system’ is unlikely to instill any legitimate sense of compassion or responsibility,” wrote Kristin Simon, a PETA senior cruelty caseworker.
“Given that repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers, we respectfully ask that if convicted, as part of the sentencing and in addition to incarceration, MacEachen be prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long as possible (a common provision in such cases) and that he be relieved of any animals currently in his custody.”
Caloia on Friday said she did not know how she would respond to the letter, adding that she hadn’t received it yet.
MacEachen was due in court for an arraignment Feb. 18, but the hearing has been postponed until March 11.