Letter: Farrell letter misportrayed Krabloonik

I am happy to respond to Joe Farrell’s letter to the editor about my public comments regarding Snowmass Village ethics and Krabloonik (“Krabloonik gets a bad rap,” Jan. 1, The Aspen Times). I always welcome feedback and will answer as honestly as I can.

I have to correct a few of Farrell’s statements. First and foremost, I have never written any letters commending Dan MacEachen and would challenge anyone to produce such a letter.

Farrell might be confused and referring to an article Andrew Travers wrote, “Former adversaries now working together for Krabloonik sled dogs” (Aspen Daily News, Nov. 18, 2011).

In this article I endorsed Guy Courtney for his hard work to improve the conditions at Krabloonik. He had recently implemented an off-season exercise program for the dogs (which no longer exists) and we were developing other programs including a sled-dog adoption program (which also no longer exists).

If you read the article, I am never quoted as commending MacEachen, only Courtney for his efforts. The article also details why I began working with Courtney, primarily because Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs was unsuccessful in getting the Snowmass Village Town Council to enact ordinances to oversee the Krabloonik dogs. We continue to fight for oversight and regulations for the dogs to this day.

Due to the Snowmass Village Town Council’s lack of action, I made the choice to work with Courtney. I felt that working with Courtney, Krabloonik’s then-general manager, was the best way for me to be directly involved in the dogs’ welfare and to have some input in future programs. It also allowed me to stay up-to-date on all facets of the dogs’ care.

In a recent letter, (“Hindsight about Krabloonik,” Aspen Daily News, Sept. 25), I explain why my efforts failed, and that many of the atrocities witnessed at Krabloonik years earlier were repeating themselves. This included dogs “disappearing” while the mushers were away on a spring retreat, dogs freezing to death, malnourished and in need of veterinary care. These testimonies were provided by several employees at Krabloonik. The D.A. investigation concluded that, among other things, local vets had treated Krabloonik dogs for hypothermia and, once again, Krabloonik had been cited by the state with several critical violations.

I also challenge Farrell’s statement about MacEachen’s response to “PETA reps” and the positive steps he was taking. Farrell, I’m not sure what you are talking about here. PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an aggressive animal-welfare organization based in Norfolk, Va., and they have never visited Krabloonik. Trust me, you and our nation would know if PETA came to Krabloonik. Your letter leads one to believe you have very little understanding of the regulatory process for sled dogs.

Regarding your comments about Courtney, I will let him speak for himself. I will say that Voices and our mission to improve the welfare for the Krabloonik dogs existed long before Courtney came on board and will continue to exist regardless of what happens with him. We have thousands of supporters who are aligned with us and Guy Courtney just happens to be one of them.

There are almost a dozen other sled-dog operations in Colorado alone and last time I checked none had been cited for severe state violations or charged with animal abuse as Krabloonik owner MacEachen now is.

By the way, Farrell, contrary to your statement, Lynne Mace also strongly disagrees with you regarding her father’s support of Krabloonik. I wonder who knew Stuart Mace best?

I will state once again, I believe the grounds on which Snowmass Village entered into a lease with MacEachen were unethical. I, as well as other civic leaders and the general public, also believe it is unethical for Mayor Bill Boineau not to recuse himself from all issues relating to Krabloonik and MacEachen because of his close friendship and prior business dealings with MacEachen.

However, I am glad to hear that both of our motives are for the welfare of the dogs.

Bill Fabrocini