Animals seized during search of sled-dog site
The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office seized eight animals while serving a search warrant Thursday on a Snowmass Village sled dog operation as part of an investigation into possible animal abuse.
“They were not in good shape,” DA Sherry Caloia said of the dogs removed from the site.
The investigation targets Krabloonik, which provides commercial sled-dog rides, and is based on concerns about alleged inadequate feeding, shelter and other care. It was prompted after three recent employees went to the Snowmass Village Police Department with allegations of mistreatment that include a short-haired dog freezing to death last winter.
“The matter remains under active investigation and consideration of charges and/or actions is pending,” Caloia said in a news release.
She said her office has been working with the state Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Protection to investigate complaints against Krabloonik. State officials were present along with two veterinarians, Caloia said.
“A full inspection of the facility and the dogs was carried out,” she said.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Denise Lynch signed the search warrant, which was sought by DA investigator Lisa Miller. It authorized search and seizure of documents such as feeding schedules, food packaging, billing records for straw and other animal care supplies, and evidence of medical intervention.
It also covered the “kennel, whelping and breeding areas including but not limited to the dog houses and tether areas themselves for evidence of protection from the weather, cleanliness and appropriate feed and water.” Additionally, it authorized veterinary exams of dogs for their weight, medical condition and other measurements associated with their care.
The search warrant affidavit said one ex-employee, Christian Lowry, told police a dog named “Fernando” had been brought inside because he was shaking but Krabloonik owner Dan MacEachen told Lowry to leave him outside and he later died. Lowry said another dog, “Cleveland,” suffered similar symptoms but survived after Lowry provided blankets and shored up his doghouse to keep out snow, and Cleveland received treatment from a vet.
The affidavit said about 20 percent of Krabloonik’s 250 dogs are short-haired, hound mixes.
MacEachen could not immediately be reached for comment.