Park County Animal Control got a call from the U.S. Humane Society about the sled dog facility near Hartsel on Tuesday. Hartsel is southeast of Leadville and west of Woodland Park.
After Animal Control spotted the dogs in poor condition, the Park County Sheriff's Office searched the facility on early Wednesday morning.
"A number of the dogs are very thin and we are very concerned about their health and well being," Dr. Keith Roehr, the state veterinarian, said.
Thirty dogs experts deemed to be in the worst condition were removed immediately and taken to facilities in Colorado Springs, Buena Vista, Salida and Park County.
Thursday, authorities removed the remaining 70 dogs and will be placing them in facilities across Colorado.
The Park County Sheriff's Office says the sled dog facility is operated by Sam and Diane Walker who live in Florissant. They could face multiple counts of animal cruelty and neglect, according to deputies.
Roehr says the sled dog operation has a history of compliance with state rules and it has been licensed for several years. The last inspection was earlier this year.
"How long the lack of care had occurred that resulted in these dogs' declining condition is still being investigated, so we don't know," Roehr said.
He says the area has had extremely cold and hard weather recently and the dogs declined quickly without the proper food.
"There was dog food, a good amount of dog food on the premise, so [we're] not exactly sure why that food wasn't being distributed in a manner that would allow these dogs to maintain their weight," Roehr said.
He says a neighbor was asked to provide food and care for the dogs.
Roehr says most of the dogs should get better once they are nursed back to health.
"Many of these dogs will recover and will be made available for adoption and will have the potential to become quality pets," he said.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has set up a fund to help the animals through its Animal Protection Fund. Checks should be made out to "Colorado Department of Agriculture." Please note "Animal Protection Fund-Park County" in the memo line and mail to 700 Kipling Street, Suite 4000, Lakewood, CO, 80215. Or donations may be made directly to: The Park County Rescue Fund, PO Box 604, Fairplay, CO, 80440.
The dogs were transferred to a few different shelters. At least 35 were brought to the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Thursday afternoon.
"Overall, the vet says their health condition is pretty good. But some came here a little afraid, unsure of what was going on," Michelle Ray, from the Dumb Friends League, said.
Within a week, some of the dogs will be available for adoption.
Here are some of the shelters the dogs were taken to:
Ark-Valley Humane Society
Dumb Friends League
Longmont Humane Society
Boulder Humane Society
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