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    Posted January 4, 2014 by
    Snowmass Village, Colorado

    Sled Dogs in Snowmass, CO Need Help Now


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Leigh Vogel is a photographer and member of the nonprofit Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs. She shared this iReport in order to bring to light the alleged problems facing sled dogs at Krabloonik, a tourist attraction in Snowmass Village, Colorado. She says she has been following this story for years -- her photo above was taken in 2008 -- and she wants to see change for these sled dogs.

    The owner of the resort, Dan MacEachen, was charged with eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty on Dec.12. On that day, authorities impounded eight dogs from Krabloonik. Six were severely malnourished, and two required serious veterinarian care, they said.

    MacEachen is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, Jan. 14. A call to his attorney, Greg Greer, was not immediately returned Monday, but court documents tell part of this story.

    CNN could not immediately verify all of the claims about the conditions of the sled dogs in this iReport.

    Read more about this story on CNN.com.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Sled dogs at Krabloonik, a popular tourist attraction in Snowmass Village, outside of Aspen, Colorado, need help right now. You might know that the Snowmass/Aspen area is one of the most popular ski resorts in the world. The owner of Krabloonik, the largest sled dog operation in the lower 48 states, was charged in December with eight counts of animal cruelty. Complaints have been reported to police and media for decades.


    A dog sled ride at Krabloonik Fine Dining & Dog Sledding, located in the Town of Snowmass Village, Colorado, is promoted to tourists as “the signature event of a visit to Aspen.” The holiday season is here, and many visitors to this famous resort towns might not know that:


    Many of the 250+ Krabloonik sled dogs are tethered to wooden houses by six-foot chains, 24 hours per day for more than seven months straight, and sometimes for years, until death.


    According to former employees, Krabloonik owner Dan MacEachen has:


    Beaten dogs
    Shot dogs in the head and thrown them in a pit of feces while still alive
    Failed to provide medical treatment for sick and injured dogs
    Refused to provide adequate nutrition during the summer months
    Ignored the advice of his own veterinarians to insulate the doghouses and provide straw for warmth


    In fact, former Krabloonik employees have recently reported to the Snowmass Village Town Council and Police Department that a shorthaired sled dog named Fernando froze to death on a frigid night last winter. Employees reported that they took Fernando inside for warmth, but Mr. MacEachen ordered Fernando returned to his doghouse the next day, where he died tethered to a doghouse that night. As a result of former employees filing police reports, The District Attorney’s office for the 9th Judicial District, which has jurisdiction over Snowmass Village, has launched an investigation. The Town of Snowmass Village police chief is forwarding all allegations of abuse to the D.A. citing a conflict of interest as the land is town-owned.


    Despite the large number of complaints and requests for help by community members, the Town of Snowmass Village has not intervened or regulated this animal operation located on town-owned property.


    Krabloonik has been in violation of Colorado state regulations several times, and now the owner has been charged with cruelty, yet the Town will not intervene, and the dogs are still not regulated.


    On December 7, 2013, a concerned citizen contacted Snowmass Village police to inquire if authorities had checked on the dogs during several sub-zero temperatures. The town spokesperson responded that Krabloonik staff reported the dogs were fine. The Town of Snowmass Village is allowing Krabloonik to self-report if any dogs are being neglected at the facility.


    Krabloonik sled dogs should not be used as disposable commodities worth only the number to sled rides they can provide each winter.


    Thank you,

    Leigh Vogel

    Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs


    Please visit Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs Facebook page for up-to-date information and ways you can help the dogs. You can reach us at voicesforthekrabloonikdogs@gmail.com.

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