Keep the pressure on Krabloonik |

Keep the pressure on Krabloonik

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor written by Matthew Maier of Carbondale titled “More bark than bite,” printed on May 24, 2011 (The Aspen Times). Matthew writes, “It seems to me that the people involved with this campaign need to focus on the law and having it changed, rather than continuing to attack a longtime local and law-abiding businessman. Or am I missing the point?”

Matthew, thank you for asking this question. We (Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs) are focusing our efforts on the many people who can facilitate change on behalf of sled dogs who live on chains most of the year. These people include residents and visitors of Aspen/Snowmass, Krabloonik management, the Snowmass Village Town Council, and PACFA (the regulatory body within the Colorado Department of Agriculture).

Each group can play an integral part in raising the low standards of care set for sled dogs in Colorado. One example to illustrate this point is the granting of the tethering waiver by PACFA to sled dog operators. This waiver is granted as a way for operators to confine their dogs; however, it does not mandate how often dogs need to be off chains when they are not pulling sleds.

This absence of a standard leaves a door open for owners to keep dogs on chains for indefinite periods of time; months, even years. Many Colorado dog sledding operators exercise their dogs throughout each season in safe and controlled numbers. Krabloonik management, however, has chosen to leave dogs on chains for seven months straight (sometimes longer).

Mr. MacEachen is quoted in a May 17 Aspen Daily News article stating, “If the dogs need exercise, they can get it by running around their houses on the chain.” Krabloonik employees have stated that this is a low standard of care, as evidence by a letter signed by more than 15 current and former mushers (reference March 26, 2011 Aspen Daily News article titled “Krabloonik mushers call for change at dog-sledding kennel”).

We, and other concerned citizens, are working to amend local and state regulations while asking Krabloonik management to raise its standards until the law dictates change.

I hope this answers your question as to why the Voices Group works locally and with the state. It is also the reason for, as per your letter, “the nonstop letters to the editor regarding Krabloonik” pour in each spring from locals and visitors. Until the law dictates change on behalf of animals, it is each person’s responsibility to act.

Leigh Vogel

Arlington, Va., and Basalt

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