Eagle boarder cited for unlawful acts in case of dog killed by mountain lion
EAGLE COUNTY — Jason Hershman paid a $450 penalty this month, closing the case on the rottweiler apparently killed by a mountain lion after escaping his shelter.
Hershman is the owner of Wanderlust Dog Ranch, a boarding facility in Eagle. In November, the rottweiler escaped Hershman’s care and was later found dead; the wounds suggested the dog had been attacked by a mountain lion.
The Department of Agriculture’s Inspection and Consumer Services Division investigated the incident under its Pet Animal Care Facilities Act program. Nick Fisher, who oversees the program, said they do not see a lot of cases like that one.
Hershman said the dog was a flight risk, and that information had not been provided to him at the time of the boarding.
“We didn’t receive information prior to having the dog in our care that it was abused,” Hershman said.
The penalty issued in the case was for unlawful acts, including inadequate fencing and a lack of direct supervision of the dogs.
“At the time of this inspection/investigation, I observed that areas of the outdoor yard are inadequate in height to contain all breeds of dogs,” inspector Christie Kline wrote in her report.
Hershman described the occurrence as a terrible accident.
“We did 15,000 visits last year,” Hershman said. “Fifteen thousand visits, and this was the one incident that we had.”
The facility the dog escaped from is located on Salt Creek Road in Eagle. The Salt Creek location is an overnight counterpart to another day boarding facility Wanderlust uses in the town of Eagle. Fisher said his office visited the Salt Creek facility in July of 2015 on a pre-licensing inspection, noticed no major violations and approved the license. When they returned following the dog’s disappearance in November, the facility failed the inspection due to inadequate fencing.
“Absolutely nothing had changed in the facility,” Hershman said.
For a few months following the penalties being issued in November, Hershman did not request a hearing on the matter or pay the fines, Fisher said. When he paid the penalties in May, Hershman waved his right to request a hearing on the case.
Moving forward, “if this was to happen again, we would look at license revocation or license denial in this situation,” Fisher said.
Hershman said in response to the incident, he plans to build an overnight facility in the town of Eagle.
“We’re in mountain lion country, there are accidents like that, and to never let it happen again, we’re moving the facility down (to the town of Eagle),” he said.
Eagle County Schools opens classes for around 6,800 public school students.