Guest opinion: Steps for helping out Krabloonik dogs | AspenTimes.com

Guest opinion: Steps for helping out Krabloonik dogs

Bill Fabrocini and Lee Ann Vold
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Many concerned citizens have inquired about the Krabloonik sled dogs and how they can help.

The Voices for Krabloonik Dogs, dedicated to raising the standards of care, is now at a critical crossroad. This past fall, The Krabloonik Advisory Committee outlined improvements needed for the dogs, including fenced exercise yards, exercise wheels, and additional staffing.

The owner has been unable to commit funding for the proposed improvements, citing the poor economy. The committee has also had discussions about a possible purchase of the business. If the owner chooses not to sell the business, and a lack of funding for the improvements needed remains, there will be little change for the sled dogs going into the summer. Their lives on five-foot chains will continue. We will continue to work with the owner and pursue every option to improve the standard of care for the sled dogs. In the meantime, there are many ways concerned citizens can help.

First, several retired sled dogs are currently at the Aspen Animal Shelter. They are up for adoption, and benefit from visitors walking or playing with them. The Aspen Animal Shelter is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., located across Highway 82 from the Aspen Airport. Call 544-0206 for more information.

Donations are needed to help pay for medical care, including vaccinations and neutering for the retired sled dogs. A tax-deductible fund has been established through Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter. Donations can be mailed to FAAS-Krabloonik Fund, PO Box 985, Aspen, CO, 81612. Even a small donation can go a long way.

Water bowls are needed for the 280-plus dogs at Krabloonik. Recycled No. 10 cans are used for watering containers. Many restaurants and supermarkets in the Roaring Fork Valley will donate these cans. You can drop off recycled cans at the Aspen Animal Shelter or Krabloonik directly.

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We are striving for improved living conditions for the Krabloonik dogs by this spring. The dogs need time off of their chains and exercise year round. At this time, there is no definitive solution in place. We may have no alternative other than to pursue legislation and ordinance changes through the State of Colorado and the Town of Snowmass Village.

We believe any animal, whether it is a pet or working animal, deserves the respect to never be chained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, month after month. Sled dogs are bred to pull a sled; they are pack animals that thrive on companionship and their natural instinct is to run and interact with other dogs. Confining them to 5-foot chains, year round, restricts their ability to socialize and move about freely. The very nature of their existence is compromised and in this restrictive environment they suffer.

Sled dogs are permitted to be chained 24 hours a day because of a “tethering waiver” regulation granted to sled dog businesses by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Please contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture and tell them to reverse the tethering waiver regulation for sled dog operations:

– Dr. Kate Anderson, PACFA, Administrator: Kate.anderson@ag.state.co.us

– Dr. Keith Roehr, Assistant State Veterinarian: Keith.roehr@ag.state.co.us

– Dr. John Stulp, Commissioner of the Dept. of Agriculture: John.stulp@ag.state.co.us

We also encourage you to contact the Snowmass Village Town Council and voice your concerns. The town of Snowmass Village owns the land that Krabloonik resides on, and holds the lease for the Krabloonik Kennels and Restaurant. Please request their support for an anti-tethering ordinance we may propose down the road if it should come to that point:

– Markey Butler: butlermrky@aol.com

– John Wilkinson: johnwilk@bikerider.com

– Arnie Mordkin: mordkin@rof.net

– Reed Lewis: snowmassreed@gmail.com

– Bill Boineau: (mayor) billb@rof.net

– Russ Forest: (town manager) rforest@tosv.com

Lastly, a bill has been started in the State House called the Puppy Mill Bill. The bill proposes that no breeder, at any one time, shall maintain more than 25 unsterilized (not spayed or neutered) dogs. The bill requires annual veterinary certification of each breeding female to ensure suitability to breed. It also dictates a revocation or denial of license for anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty. Krabloonik currently has more than 280 dogs, most of which are not spayed or neutered.

The Puppy Mill Bill would have direct influence over operations such as Krabloonik. Please contact your state representatives and ask them and support the Puppy Mill Bill:

– Senator Gail Schwartz: gail.schwartz.senate@gmail.com; 303-866-4543

– Representative Kathleen Curry: kathleen.curry.house@state.co.us; 303-866-2945

We thank everyone who has expressed their support. Feel free to contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

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