In a change of tune, the Snowmass Village Town Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to add a discussion on the Krabloonik dog-sledding business to an upcoming agenda.
Less than two weeks ago, council members said the item wouldn’t be discussed openly until after the district attorney’s case against owner Dan MacEachen concluded. MacEachen faces eight counts of animal cruelty.
Not all council members agreed with that position, however, and on Tuesday night the council signed off on a motion by Councilman Chris Jacobson to review the history and other information about the kennel, which leases land from the town for its operation. Mayor Bill Boineau, who in December shut down public comment on the topic, and Councilman Jason Haber voted in favor of the motion.
Over the past several months, residents and former employees have accused MacEachen publicly of abusing and neglecting animals. Jacobson said all the information that he has about the issue comes from hearsay, emails from concerned people and the newspapers.
“I would like to engage in the robust public process that has been identified and stop talking through the newspaper to each other as colleagues on council and discuss the matter that seems to be affecting our community,” Jacobson said.
Councilman Fred Kucker said that the problem with public hearings is that the people who speak assume that dog abuse is happening. Councilwoman Markey Butler also voted against holding a public discussion.
“Really, the issue is not even about the dogs. The issue is, ‘What is our relationship with the public in terms of public process, in terms of transparency?’” Jacobson said. “I happen to agree with you a lot, Fred, about whether there’s dog abuse or not. What I don’t appreciate right now is the reflection that I believe we are painting.”
Jacobson’s motion requested that the discussion be scheduled “in the near term.”