(Holly Tarry of The Humane Society of the United States above.)
August 25, 2008
Dear Council members,
As the Colorado Director of the Humane Society of the United States I work to help concerned citizens appropriately address cases of animal cruelty and neglect in their communities. The HSUS is the nation’s largest animal protection organization with over 10 million members nationwide and 166,000 members in Colorado alone.
I was contacted regarding the conditions at Krabloonik by Snowmass citizens and began investigating the facility’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) file in May of this year. I was shocked and saddened to learn than Krabloonik has been in violation of several minimum standards of care for the dogs the entire time it has been licensed in this state. PACFA regulations are clear on issues of housing and protection for animals as well as addressing basic necessities like food, water and veterinary care for ill or injured dogs.
I’ve attached a list of regulations Krabloonik has a history of violating and I believe it is clear that these violations impact the welfare of the animals in Krabloonik’s care. Beyond the minimum standards of care laid out in PACFA regulations, the Krabloonik dogs’ welfare is also tremendously impacted by the lack of exercise and socialization the dogs receive during the off-season. Additionally, as local animal control records will indicate, the dogs have been found without water on several occasions. It seems the dogs are given a coffee can full of water once in each 24 hour period regardless of whether the water spills before the dogs have a chance to drink it. As Alaskan breeds on Colorado summer days I am certain this dramatically affects the dogs’ welfare and on hotter days puts their lives at risk.
I hope that the Town of Snowmass Village will closely consider the details of this case and take action to reform the way Krabloonik operates. For at least the last seven years that Krabloonik has been licensed by the state it has not been compliant with the minimum standards of care and the dogs have suffered as a result. On their behalf I ask that you please take action and deliver the dogs much needed relief.
Unresolved PACFA Violations at Krabloonik
1) Puppy Housing- Krabloonik was found in violation of 12.00 B.1.c.(a) “No female dogs in whelp or with puppies shall be tethered” in 2007 and again in the most recent inspection 5/5/2008. Additionally, the most recent report 5/5/2008 indicates a violation of 12.00 C.2.d. “puppies under the age of 4 months shall not be housed in the same primary enclosure, run, or exercise area with adult dogs other than their dam or foster dam, unless under director supervision” This was deemed a “critical violation” and resulted in a “failed” inspection.
2) Tethering Dogs- 12.00 B.1.c. (1) “The use of dog houses with chains (tethering) as a primary enclosure is prohibited.” There is an exemption for sled dog facilities but it requires an annual waiver and is up to the discretion of the commissioner to grant that waiver. Krabloonik has been licensed by PACFA since 2001, has always tethered all of its adult dogs, and as of 5/5/2008 had never applied for, or been granted, that waiver. This violation is noted in the most recent PACFA inspection report 5/5/2008 with a “due date” of 5/6/2008. Krabloonik applied for the waiver on 7/16/2008 for the first time in 7 years.
3) Tether Length and Tangling- Within the tethering exemption 12.00B.1.c.(2).(b) states “chains used shall be so placed or attached that they cannot become entangled with the chains of other dogs and any other objects. Such chains should be at minimum of 6 feet….All tethering chains shall have a swivel.” PACFA recorded complaints of the tethers being too short and tangled beginning in 2003. PACFA Inspectors directly noted violations of this rule in 2005 and 2007. PACFA has still not received compliance on the tether length. This violation was again noted in the most recent inspection 5/5/2008.
4) Fence Perimeter- 12.00 B.1.c.(2).(c) within the tethering exemption states “a fence perimeter shall surround the entire tethering area to protect the tethered dogs from predators, stray animals and humans.” There is no indication that this required fence has ever been in place. It was noted in inspection reports starting in 2005 and is still not resolved as it was cited again in the most recent inspection 5/5/2008. The dogs at Krabloonik, without the safety of a perimeter fence, are literally bait for the large number of wild predators that live in that area.
5) Storage- 12.00 E.1.e. states “supplies of food and bedding shall be stored off the floor or in waterproof closed containers and protected against infestation or contamination by vermin”. Krabloonik was found to be in violation of this regulation on 5/5/2008.
6) Veterinary Care- pursuant to 12.00 F. 1.c. veterinary records were requested for a dog with a bite wound during the 5/5/2008 inspection. A due date of 7/1/2008 was placed on this item but as of today, 8/25/2008 these records have still not been submitted to PACFA. Additionally, during the 5/5/2008 inspection the inspector noted a violation of 12.00 C. 2. h. and mandated veterinary care for a dog with a “prolapsed uterus” and a dog with a lesion near right hip. While the “due date” on this violation was noted as 5/6/2008, as of today, 8/25/2008, no follow up has been completed to ensure care for these dogs.
7) Feeding and Watering- According to 12.00 C. 1. c. “open food and water containers shall be accessible to the pet animal”. A violation of this regulation was found during the 5/5/2008 inspection and although it wasn’t mentioned in the PACFA report, several submitted photos show dogs and puppies without water at Krabloonik. Since random checks of the dogs’ water over a week 2 week period revealed no water 100% of the time it’s hard to imagine the dogs are being cared for properly. The issue noted on the inspection report is one of the dogs being fed directly on the wooden platform with no dishes allowing for unnecessary risk of parasite infestation.
8) Shelter-12.00 B.1.e. (3) requires “shelter shall be provided which is a moisture-proof structure”, but Krabloonik’s dog houses are constructed of plywood. This issue must be addressed as an important basic sheltering need for dogs already left to fend for themselves against the elements more than dogs housed inside would be. Additionally, the most recent PACFA inspection (5/5/2008) lists a violation of 12.00 B. 1.e.(4) stating “outdoor enclosures shall be so designed and constructed to suitably demonstrate drainage to eliminate natural or other excess water, regardless of surfacing material.”
9) Yearly Reports- 12.00 F.1.f. states “the licensee shall report to the commissioner on a yearly basis the numbers of transfers and litters to accurately determine licensing status.” These records are absent from the PACFA file for every license year.