Elbert County wild animal sanctuary euthanizes all its animals after relocation request denied – The Denver Post

A wild animal sanctuary in Elbert County has euthanized all 11 of its wild animals and one of the sanctuary’s co-owners said they were forced to do so after county commissioners denied the sanctuary’s request to relocate.

Dr. Joan Laub told KMGH-Channel 7 the animals had to be euthanized because ongoing flooding on the property made conditions unsafe for the animals.

KUSA-Channel 9 reports the sanctuary euthanized three lions, three tigers and five bears on April 20.

On April 12, Elbert County commissioners unanimously voted to deny the sanctuary’s request to move from eastern Elbert County because of flood damage to a location near Elizabeth, the Denver Post reported.

Commissioner Grant Thayer said the unanimous vote to deny the sanctuary a special-use permit to move was made because “it was felt that the community impact would be best served if it was denied.”

It was the second time the board of commissioners voted against a move for the facility, with a previous board turning down a similar request by Lion’s Gate in 2006.

For years, neighbors living near the proposed relocation site had said it was not appropriate for a rural neighborhood mostly known for an equine lifestyle. They worried about safety and complained about the possibility of lions roaring at all times of day and night.

Lion’s Gate owners, Laub and Peter Winney, argued at a planning commission meeting in March that the animals were elderly and posed little security risk. As for noise, Laub said the sanctuary’s two male lions might roar once a day for only seconds at a time.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department told Denver7 officials were aware of the mass euthanasia and the burial of all 11 animals on the sanctuary grounds. But it said no regulations were violated.

Pat Craig, the founder and executive director of the Wildlife Sanctuary in Keenesberg, which is the state’s largest with 450 animals, told Denver7 he was surprised the sanctuary’s owners didn’t try to find new homes for the animals.

“In this specific case with Lion’s Gate, they have so few animals, they would easily be able to place every animal with another wildlife sanctuary,” Craig said.”  “I can guarantee you that a lot of organizations would be glad to help.”