Letter: Krabloonik stuck in the past | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Krabloonik stuck in the past

The Krabloonik dog-sledding facility in Snowmass Village is stuck in the 19th century.

Dan MacEachen has owned and operated it since 1974 but has refused to reform his cruel and inhumane treatment of the dogs. Our 21st-century sensibilities and continuing education regarding domestic animals have changed our perspectives.

These wonderful animals are not crops. We know they are capable of extreme pain and suffering. Defining them as “working” dogs does not give MacEachen the right to neglect, starve, systematically overwork and beat them or let them freeze to death.

Shooting underperforming, healthy dogs and puppies in the head, tossing them in a pit and covering them with feces is obviously wrong.

The Colorado Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act was formed in 1994 and licensed Krabloonik in 2001. It has the discretion to deny, suspend, refuse renewal of or revoke a license.

According to the act, Krabloonik has a long history of repeated, multiple violations related to a lack of food, water and veterinary care; protection from sun, rain, snow and cold; exercise off-chain and chains too short; lack of socialization with other dogs and people; and a required perimeter fence.

Krabloonik has continued to be noncompliant, but there is no follow-up by the state.

Many resident and visitor cruelty complaints continue. MacEachen was cited for failure to keep records of the dogs and puppies and pleaded no-contest to animal abuse in court.

He is currently charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

MacEachen previously claimed he had “about” 350 to 400 dogs and currently says “about 250 to 300.” These dogs are warehoused, basically never off-chain. The lucky ones pulling sleds several weeks in winter are moved directly from chain to sled harness.

The number of “pet animals” (the state definition) is so huge that MacEachen can never comply with regulations.

Because it leases the land to Krabloonik (for $10 a year), the town of Snowmass Village must assume its responsibilities in this matter. It should require specific records of every animal immediately for the protection of the dogs.

It should severely limit the number of dogs to, maybe, 75. What was once a sad, evil secret could become a successful tourist attraction of healthy, happy sled dogs in the hands of an enlightened owner.

Katie Ingham