Guest commentary: Step aside, Mayor Boineau
December 28, 2013
I am writing in response to Village Mayor Bill Boineau's letter ("Why I said 'no,'" Dec. 23, The Aspen Times) wherein he tries to justify his action in denying public comment regarding animal-welfare issues at Krabloonik.
It appears he has had time to reflect on his actions. His explanation might be plausible had he not divulged so much to the media after the council meeting that evening. Had he simply said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, but due to the DA investigation, we cannot take public comments regarding Krabloonik," he actually might have gotten away with it. Instead he divulged his true feelings and was quoted as saying, "What they're doing is a dog-and-pony show so they can affect Dan's business for the Christmas season." "Dan's" business, not "Krabloonik's." The mayor obviously has deep, personal feelings on the issue as well as a long friendship and prior business dealings with Dan MacEachenthat have gotten in the way of him seeing things objectively and fairly. The media and general public now clearly see this.
Pitkin County civic leaders, including Snowmass Village Councilman Jason Haber and Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron, shared their sentiments. Haber stated it was impossible to know what those in attendance would say without allowing them to speak. Skadron stressed that nothing is more important than public comment, and the Aspen City Council goes out of its way to ensure an environment that allows the public to make constructive presentations on any topic.
That's quite the contrast from Boineau's statements. Given the seriousness of the matter — criminal charges of animal cruelty on Snowmass Village-owned land — even if the council could not comment, it definitely could have listened and perhaps learned something new. After all, it has taken me years to understand laws pertinent to animal welfare, and I continue to search for and uncover new facts relevant to Krabloonik.
Based upon past statements, it's obvious that some of the current Snowmass Village council members lack knowledge in this area, one going so far as to ask what the Snowmass Village statute of limitations was for reporting animal cruelty.
To those few, along with Boineau, who support Krabloonik owner MacEachen, we respect your right to do so. Everyone has a right to support family and friend regardless of the cause. We acknowledge you may not appreciate the methods by which we seek to make changes at Krabloonik, but our intentions are sincere.
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We seek immediate discussions with the council and town manager (with the mayor recused) to either break the lease, based upon the history of violations against Krabloonik, or put forth plans for a regulatory body of experts to oversee Krabloonik. We have a plethora of experts in this valley and the ability to create something special that could be a model for other communities.
Why would anyone who truly cares about dogs be against vets performing compassionate euthanasia? Or neutering the dogs to put an end to their breeding? Why would anyone be against identifying the dogs so their medical status could be followed and so dogs don't just "disappear"? Or against keeping adoption records? If we all truly care about the dogs, then these things can only ensure their welfare. Our motives are driven by compassion for the dogs. Had the Snowmass Village council allowed this process to unfold in 2008, as we had requested, MacEachen would not be facing his current legal dilemma — eight counts of animal cruelty.
I believe we have the support of the majority of residents of the Roaring Fork Valley who want change at Krabloonik. We care about the dogs. We walk the walk.
In 2008, MacEachen complimented Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs co-founder Lee Ann Vold for her work in organizing a veterinarian inspection for all 290-plus dogs at Krabloonik, noting that it was the first time anyone who scrutinized his operation actually did something about it other than complain. Our work and sacrifice for the dogs speak for themselves.
There is an expression that goes something like, "If you're not willing to help, get out of the way of those who are." To the Snowmass Village Town Council, Town Attorney John Dresser, Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter and Police Chief Art Smythe, we ask that you support the mayor recusing himself from all matters pertaining to Krabloonik. In the event that he will not do so of his own free will, we ask that you begin the process necessary to have him recused.
Mayor Boineau, take an honest look at your history with MacEachen and reflect on your past actions. You have blocked every attempt we have made to provide oversight and care for the Krabloonik dogs. We and a large majority of your community anxiously await the opportunity to move forward and shine a light on this dark situation that has shadowed our community for far too long.
Bill Fabrocini is a member of Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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