BusinessHot Sheet

Controversy hounds San Luis Valley dog-breeding plan

Author: Kara Mason - May 24, 2018 - Updated: May 24, 2018

Big dogs ban(Photo by Ed Bierman, via Flickr and Creative Commons)

While the Denver metro area is anxiously awaiting the announcement of where the massive Amazon HQ2 will land, Conejos County in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado has some other ideas about economic development: namely, dog-breeding facilities.

And they are as controversial as one would guess.

The Alamosa Valley Courier reported this week that residents near where two facilities are slated to go are concerned the operations were essentially approved by the county’s commissioners without the community’s consideration.

Two public hearings were held May 17 on applications filed by Ruben D. Mast and Lavern and Mary Coblentz, drawing protests from members of an audience of some 30 persons, some of whom claimed the county had violated its own land use code due to the fact that some building had already begun on the property in question.

The May 17 hearings seemed to draw more blowback over the city’s process than the facilities themselves — though there was reportedly no shortage of animal advocates on hand at the meeting.

One woman claimed that the county valued the rights of business owners over the rights of homeowners. Proof was that the buildings for the businesses had already been erected before the hearings, she said.

Furthermore, the two that are going up are within a two-mile radius of each other, and there may be a third facility in the works.

That sparked more controversy, the Courier relates:

(Ramona) Sisneros pointed out that Conejos County encompasses 1,291 square miles, while La Jara’s ZIP code only covers a 10-mile radius — “How can three dog breeding facilities be justified within a two-mile radius of each other in the same area?”

Some at the meeting claimed the breeders are coming with good intentions, and that they will be aiding the local economy through breeding the dogs.

And when it came to the business itself, the Courier reported that some locals were worried about the barking that may result at a dog breeding facility and what would be done with the dog waste. It may be composted and spread on pasture.

The owners behind the facilities reportedly said they would provide environmental impact studies to ensure the health of the animals and the dogs.

Conejos County commissioners are expected to be make a final decision on the facilities in mid-June.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.