Two Snowmass council members say Krabloonik is in default on its lease |

Two Snowmass council members say Krabloonik is in default on its lease

Snowmass Village dog sledding facility has until May 2 to provide plans, documentation for “path forward”

Dogs bark at their outdoor houses at the end of the day at Krabloonik in Snowmass Village on Monday, March 14, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Amid nearly three hours of contentious conversation at Monday’s work session, two members of the Snowmass Village Town Council determined that Krabloonik Dog Sledding is in default on its lease and must provide plans and documentation for its adoption program, retirement program, spay and neuter program and off-tether program by May 2 to address the concerns.

“We need to see your plan for a robust adoption program. We need to see real records that we can manage about your spay and neuter program. We need to have records where we can see, you know, your off-tether time and who’s doing it, how it’s happening,” Mayor Bill Madsen told Krabloonik co-owner Danny Phillips at the meeting.

“I mean, that’s the only way we’re going to be able to say, ‘OK, Danny’s got these dogs under control, everything is humming along and abiding by the lease,’” Madsen added. “I think in order to move this program forward, we’re going to need to see that information relatively shortly. … At this point, we have to say you’re in default of your lease, and you can provide us with that information by May 2, and then that will allow us to determine if we’ve got a path forward.”

The town will issue a written notice formalizing the details on what Krabloonik’s owners must provide to address council concerns. Town council will likely need to vote to issue an official notice of default, Town Manager Clint Kinney clarified Thursday.

The decision came during a meeting originally proposed as a meet-and-greet for the six members of the Krabloonik Best Practices Review Committee, five of whom are new appointees.

Town-selected appointees Karyn Spiropolous and Bill Fabrocini and Krabloonik-selected appointees Bisque Jackson, Andy Gillis and Stacy Rothenberg join Seth Sachson, who was previously the sole remaining member, on the committee. Only Jackson was absent at Monday’s meeting.

But shortly after the meeting began, the conversation pivoted from introductions to Krabloonik’s lease compliance. (The facility leases the land on Divide Road from the town at a rate of $10 per year.)

A supplemental report Sachson submitted to the town in February identified several lapses in the commitments Krabloonik made in the lease and the Best Practices Plan attached to it relating to the adoption and reduction program, spay and neuter program and off-tether exercise program. Sachson also noted that some language in that Best Practices Plan is unclear and difficult to monitor or enforce.

Phillips, who co-owns the facility with Gina Phillips, maintains that he was not aware the Best Practices Plan would be part of the lease when it was developed in 2015.

“I know that you didn’t believe that the best practices and the lease were tied, but they are, they’re tied together, and those things have to be taken care of in order for this lease to stay in existence,” Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said.

Phillips also said at Monday night’s meeting that in 2018, he had the OK from the town to take a different approach to adoption in which more older dogs would stay onsite after plans to adopt out all dogs over the age of 10 didn’t seem to be working.

Town Council said they would like to see more clear documentation and evidence of a plan moving forward for adoption and reducing the number of dogs at the kennel, spaying and neutering dogs, and ensuring the dogs get adequate time to run and exercise freely off of their chains.

Phillips had provided some documentation of off-tether exercise time for the dogs and photos of a chart tracking which dogs are spayed and neutered, but council members said the documentation Phillips provided was not comprehensible to them.

Holding up a spay and neuter chart, Madsen said, “You say, you know, here’s your spay and neutering program — like this, this doesn’t mean anything to me.”

With regards to the off-tether tracking charts, Shenk said “all I saw was a bunch of random sheets that have lines that made absolutely no sense to me.”

The charts use slashes to track what dates each dog gets time off tether. The charts also include a space for a musher to sign off on the records but that space is blank on records from the past two years.

The documents satisfied a record-keeping requirement from the Colorado Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) tethering waiver, which allows sled dog operations to use dog houses with chains as an enclosure (“tethering”) as long as they provide an exercise plan, monthly exercise log and evidence of the exercise taking place. The practice of tethering is otherwise prohibited.

Phillips requested a detailed plan of what plans and documentation the town would like by end of the week. Providing more documentation and plans for moving forward will take significant resources in a short window of time, Stacy Rothenberg noted, and council members acknowledged that as well.

“This is going to take tremendous collective effort — I mean, it is not on one person to do at all,” Shenk said. “I mean, I get that. I mean, this is a big deal, and you know, this meeting is very challenging, but this is kind of what needs to happen to get to the other side.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to indicate that council will likely need to vote to issue an official notice of default and to clarify that Madsen and Shenk were the ones who determined Krabloonik was in default. Their determination of default is not yet an official and final notice.