Krabloonik in Snowmass chosen for dog-sledding documentary |

Krabloonik in Snowmass chosen for dog-sledding documentary

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
Gina and Danny Phillips, who purchased Krabloonik in December, harness dogs to a sled earlier this winter. The Snowmass Village business has been chosen as one of many North American dog-sledding operations deemed to have humane practices for a documentary about the industry.
Aubree Dallas/Aspen Times |

Krabloonik has been chosen as one of many North American dog-sledding businesses deemed to have humane practices for a documentary about the industry.

Commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the documentary was inspired by the 2010 culling of a pack of sled dogs at a business near Whistler after a drop in tourism following the Vancouver Olympics, said filmmaker Fern Levitt.

Levitt has been commissioned to find dog-sledding businesses in the U.S. and Canada that are managed in “a humane responsible manner,” she said, and the changes Krabloonik has experienced over the past year — including new owners who have promised to improve the standards of care — are what make it interesting, she added.

In December 2013, Krabloonik owner and founder Dan MacEachen was charged with eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, which seized the same number of dogs from the premises earlier that month. MacEachen is now expected to stand trial in May.

Danny and Gina Phillips, who MacEachen hired as Krabloonik’s directors of operations last spring, finalized their purchase of the business in December. The Phillipses, who already have instituted adoption and spay-and-neuter programs at the kennel, have committed to improving the standards of care for Krabloonik’s sled dogs.

Krabloonik operates on land owned by the town of Snowmass Village, and the Phillipses are expected to appear before Snowmass Town Council on Monday to discuss amendments to their lease, such as a provision regarding their business practices, the creation of a review committee to ensure compliance with those standards and a plan to responsibly reduce the number of dogs in Krabloonik’s pack.

Levitt is still in the midst of her research and doesn’t know yet what other businesses will be included in the film, likely to be completed one year from now. She is on her way to Snowmass Village to conduct interviews with the Phillipses and Mayor Markey Butler, in addition to some other filming.

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