U.S. News


Colorado dog sanctuary says zoning rules forced them out of the state

Just 4 Jacks Ranch & Sanctuary is a nonprofit, northern breed rescue organization that is dedicated to saving the lives of dogs in high-kill shelters.
Posted at 3:05 PM, Dec 11, 2023

A Colorado animal sanctuary that has helped save the lives of dozens of dogs said it is being forced to shut down and relocate to a new state because of zoning rules.

Just 4 Jacks Ranch & Sanctuary, located north of Boulder in Larimer County, 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 to the sanctuary 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 said 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 to 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.

Scripps News Denver reached out to Larimer County for a response but has yet to hear back.

This story was originally published by Kristian Lopez at Scripps News Denver.