Krabloonik found in violation of state rules
October 24, 2013
A state inspector found Krabloonik in violation of three rules for dog-breeder facilities in Colorado during a visit on Oct. 3.
The inspection, carried out by the state Veterinarian's Office, was a routine check-up on the facility, which holds a license as a small-scale dog breeder. The inspection was not tied to the recent allegations of dog abuse at Krabloonik.
The inspector reported violations regarding feeding and watering, veterinary care and identification at the Snowmass Village dogsledding operation.
The report is not a citation but similar to a notification that problems need to be corrected, said Kate Andersen, Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act administrator with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
PACFA inspector Scott Leach said in his report that he "observed ribs, lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, pelvic bones, and obvious waists with abdominal tuck" on 20 to 40 dogs.
"The dogs did appear to be maintaining muscular definition," he wrote.
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Andersen said that based on the photographs included with the report, the dogs didn't appear "emaciated" but were "obviously thin." That could be due to a medical or nutrition problem or something else altogether, she said.
"It's not our position in here to diagnose what's wrong with the dogs," Andersen said. "It's to notify (Krabloonik) that we believe there might be a problem and it calls for a correction."
The report also described two dogs with some medical issues — one with a large growth on its left front foot and another with a red, raw area on its nose. Krabloonik staff members were unable to produce a veterinary record for either dog, the report said.
"The photographs that I saw indicated that they needed to be seen by a veterinarian, but they weren't in imminent danger of having any problems," Andersen said. "If we're observing an illness or an injury during an inspection and there's no evidence of a veterinary record, then that would constitute a violation. So the fix for that would be then to have the (animal) seen by a veterinarian."
Attempts by this newspaper to reach representatives of Krabloonik were unsuccessful. But Cindy LaMar, of Snowmass Village, who participated in musher training on Oct. 12 and 13 and has visited Krabloonik every few days since then, painted a very different picture during a presentation to the Snowmass Village Town Council on Oct. 21.
"I go every day to rub and love on these dogs, as do a lot of people," LaMar said while showing the council pictures from that weekend.
Some dogs do look thin, but they are "lean machines," she said in an interview Oct. 22.
"Not overly lean, like I would be, 'Oh, my gosh — they're so scary thin,'" LaMar said. "I saw that picture (from the inspection report). … I would venture to say that's one of (the) hyper dogs."
LaMar also said she observed a boot on the dog with the growth on its foot. Oct. 11 was the deadline given on the report for Krabloonik to address the thinness and the veterinary issues.
The third violation on the report was for a lack of individual identification on the dogs.
"That's just one of the rules we have for facilities … in this category," Andersen said. "It's required that each individual animal be identified, No. 1 so that we can go out and match a record up with a dog. When you have 200 dogs at a facility, if you don't have them identified, it's difficult to find out if they even have a record."
That includes veterinary records, she said. The report gave Oct. 30 as the deadline for that correction.
The office will conduct another unannounced inspection to ensure the corrections are made.
Council discussion short
Town Manager Gary Suiter reviewed the terms of the lease Snowmass Village has with the kennels during the council meeting Oct. 21. The town leases two land parcels to Krabloonik for $10 a year. Three of the elected officials had asked for a summary of the lease after public comments at their Oct. 7 meeting alleging dog abuse at the kennels.
However, there was very little discussion on Oct. 21. Councilman Jason Haber said he wasn't sure what the officials could legally ask in a public meeting.
"Given that we are in a contractual relationship with Krabloonik, can we get some advice as to the scope of this conversation that we should be having tonight?" Haber asked Town Attorney John Dresser. Dresser said that they could ask him for legal advice during the executive session scheduled at the end of the meeting.
David Mylar, an attorney representing Krabloonik owner Dan MacEachen, said several people in the audience had come to the meeting "not to get involved in any kind of debate … but simply to tell you that things are good at Krabloonik."
They also would answer any questions the council had, he said. The officials didn't ask them any. LaMar was the only other member of the public who spoke, presenting a PowerPoint of her photos and talking about her experiences at Krabloonik.
Haber asked that Krabloonik be one of the topics of discussion when the officials voted to go into executive session.
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