LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — A Colorado animal sanctuary that has helped save the lives of dozens of dogs says it is being forced to shut down and relocate to a new state because of zoning rules.
Just 4 Jacks Ranch & Sanctuary, located in Larimer County near the town of Lyons, is a nonprofit, northern breed rescue organization that is dedicated to saving the lives of at-risk dogs in high-kill shelters and other tragic situations.
“Right now we have 82 dogs on the property," said Drew Renkewitz, founder of the organization. "We have dogs that are diabetics, deaf, blind, seizure dogs, dogs in here that were abused by their owners."
The huskies, malamutes, and other mixed breeds of dogs have come from all over the country. They mean everything to Renkewitz.
“I love these animals. This is my family. I never got married or had kids, this is it," he said.
His organization is run by a small team of volunteers working tirelessly to save as many dogs as possible.
Renkewitz said it all started when he realized how many huskies were ending up in shelters.
"Thirty-three percent of dogs in shelters across the country are northern breeds," he said. "People aren’t aware of what a husky is. Breeders are in it for the money. All these dogs end up in shelters and they get euthanized."
Renkewitz said he's been in court since May fighting zoning regulations. County officials say the area is zoned for farm/agricultural use and not for pet animals.
These issues, he said, have now caused him to pick up and move his sanctuary to a new state, Montana, where there are fewer zoning restrictions.
"They just don’t understand what's going on here. They write summons after summons after summons. I've been in court since May. I'm at the point where I can't do It anymore," he added.
But he said he isn't letting that stop him from his mission to keep saving lives.
"I have nothing else, I love these guys. I’m going do what it takes to get them up there and make sure they’re safe," he said.
There is still a lot to be done to get all of the dogs to Montana safely by the end of January.
Denver7 has reached out to Larimer County for a response but has yet to hear back.
If you'd like to donate to the nonprofit, click here.
On Monday afternoon, NOCO Humane, an animal welfare service in Larimer and Weld counties, issued the following statement:
The Colorado Department of Agriculture licenses pet animal facilities in accordance with state statutes, and we are aware that Just 4 Jacks Ranch & Sanctuary has been operating an unlicensed facility. However, NOCO Humane is not responsible for enforcing PACFA (Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act) regulations. NOCO Humane is contracted to provide animal control for Larimer County, and as such, has received complaints with regard to stray animals at Just 4 Jacks Ranch & Sanctuary. Details of those complaints may be found by submitting an information request.