Dogsled operation changes killing techniques |

Dogsled operation changes killing techniques

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – A kennel owner says unwanted or injured sled dogs will no longer be shot and dumped in the kennel’s excrement pit.Krabloonik Kennels owner Dan MacEachen, whose 250 dogs haul tourists on sled trips, said last week he would adopt out more of the healthy animals if they are no longer able to perform.MacEachen also said he would begin using a sodium pentothal injection to kill any dogs that could not be placed in new homes and would find a new way to dispose of their bodies.Previously, dogs that were injured, too old or simply unwilling to pull sleds were shot in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle and their bodies were placed in a pit where workers bury feces from the kennels.State officials said the practice was legal and death from the rifle shot was instantaneous and probably painless. Some experts said killing the dogs, known as “culling,” was necessary to keep a breed healthy and free of genetically inbred disease.Scott Dolginow, a veterinarian who has cared for MacEachen’s dogs for 15 years, said he is confident there has been no mistreatment at the kennel.News of the practice, which was widely reported last week, provoked dismay and criticism.”I realize that my actions, while legal, have been perceived as disrespectful, and it is time for a change,” MacEachen said last week.”In the future, when death is the only merciful option, I will use a sodium pentothal injection,” he said.The Pitkin County animal shelter has offered to help find homes for retired dogs. Fort Collins-based Polaris Siberian Husky Rescue said a network of organizations can place dogs across the state.

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