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Ouray Poodle Ranch Under Investigation

(Dexter Creek) Since the 50s tourists visiting this lovely spot have been relying on the Poodle Ranch for far more than dog sitting. The canine spa and club has been a godsend for weary travelers, an effective time-out for hyperactive pets and a virtual institution in the valley, enlisting up to 50 full time therapists in the heat of the summer.

       Now the state and federal authorities have shut her down, citing improprieties regarding daily treatment of clientele. Further charges, alleging license violations, the employment of questionable behavior modification techniques and general exploitation, leaning heavily on the punitive approach to house breaking and table manners, have been filed.

     “We really stepped in it this time,” said one investigating officer from Denver. “In all my years on canine patrol I’ve never seen anything quite so bizarre.”

     Heavily armed state and federal officials continue to surround the compound in hopes of securing an indictment. Samples of everything from fur to claw marks has been collected and sent to the lab for examination.

     “If the heat comes down we expect it to involve everyone here from the director down to the shovel corps,” continued the officer. “We are in the process of gathering doggie DNA since the alleged victims of this outrage (despite what owners will tell you) cannot speak.”

     According to a preliminary release a “favors for kibble ring” has also been exposed and, although details are sketchy at press time, it may involve dog handlers, obedience school administrators, even veterinarians all the way to Delta.

     “This whole thing has gotten out of hand,” said Efram Pennywhistle, Director of the Poodle Ranch. “We haven’t done anything wrong. We love our fuzzy customers. Occasionally we have to come down on a yapping Yorkie or isolate a bothersome Pekinese but the dogs usually respond quickly. Just like children they are comfortable with parameters. Many don’t have that kind of relationship with their owners who often tolerate this bad behavior.”

     Pennywhistle went on to explain that the Poodle Ranch often hosts up to 100 toy dogs during the height of tourist season and that strong measures are called for simply to keep order.

     “We don’t even tie them up unless they want it,” he smiled. “Our methods do not withhold meals, walks, or socialization with others within the population,” he added. “Sure, we have time out/solitary confinement but it’s not like in those prison movies. Misbehavior simply nets no scraps with dinner.”

     Defending the facility were several longtime customers who say they will have to leave their charges in the car or on leashes during certain episodes of their summer vacations.

     “My little Poo Poo barks incessantly when I tie him up. It bothers the neighbors,” said Evelyn Marmotbreath of Oklahoma City.

     “Puff’s behavior improves every time I bring him to the Poodle Ranch,” said Merv Ditchwater of Aurora. “I can hardly keep him still when I mention the place.”

     Despite the inquiry Pennywhistle continues to oversee the construction of a larger complex just east of the Poodle Ranch. The barns and corrals suggest occupancy by far larger animals.

     “It’s not a zoo that we’re building here but rather an infrastructure for a working dog dude ranch,” he said. “We’ve decided to expand into this new market where larger dogs like German Shepherds and Border Collies can experience a real workday. We will accept an occasional wannabe lab or a Malamute if they have their paperwork in order.”

     Dog owners visiting Ouray are asked to be patient and police have promised a quick and thorough probe. For the time being an emergency doggie day care has been set up in the news room of the San Juan Horseshoe.    – Uncle Pahgre