Owner of unlicensed dog sanctuary refuses to back down in escalating dispute | Colorado Public Radio

According to Judy Calhoun, the CEO of NOCO Humane, the conflict arose when they received reports about dogs being at large and barking. She mentioned that such reports are not uncommon.

The situation didn’t come to a close with a few phone calls from upset neighbors.

According to court documents, NOCO Humane lodged a complaint in December 2022, claiming that Drew Renkewitz, the owner of Just 4 Jack’s, was housing more than 15 dogs without a valid PACFA license. In Colorado, it is mandatory for individuals or businesses involved in pet adoption, training, or similar activities to possess this license. In January 2023, PACFA inspectors verified that Renkewitz had a total of 56 dogs and further confirmed that he was operating without the required license.

NOCO Humane also highlighted a possible problem with zoning laws, as Renkewitz resided in a residential area.

According to 9News, NOCO had requested Renkewitz to find new homes for the dogs, but he did not comply.


In March 2023, Renkewitz submitted an application for a PACFA license. From April to October, regulators carried out four inspections to assess the eligibility for a license. Unfortunately, the sanctuary did not meet the requirements in all four inspections, although the specific reasons have not been disclosed in court documents.

In October, Renkewitz was denied a license by PACFA inspectors and was issued a cease-and-desist order for Just 4 Jacks. Taking further action in December, PACFA authorities executed an administrative search warrant and discovered 82 dogs on the property, which was a clear violation of the order.

In 2023, NOCO’s Animal Protection and Control took action by issuing a total of 256 charges across 25 cases, as reported by Calhoun.

Calhoun explains that the problem with running an unlicensed facility is that there are minimum standards in place for the care of animals, as determined by legislators and the rulemaking process. It is crucial for those working in these industries and caring for animals in their facilities to meet these standards.

On Wednesday, Renkewitz relocated his 78 dogs to local organizations or NOCO’s facilities.

According to Calhoun, the dogs need some time to settle in before their health and behavior are assessed.

“They will receive a continuous supply of nutritious food and clean water, ensuring that their basic needs are met,” she assured. “If they show signs of wanting to explore, they will be given the opportunity to roam outside of their kennels. Additionally, they will be provided with daily activities to keep them mentally stimulated.”

After settling in for at least three days, the dogs will then undergo thorough medical and behavioral evaluations. Depending on the results, they may receive in-house care before being made available for adoption.

Despite losing his home and his dogs, Renkewitz remains resilient and determined to keep fighting.

After being evicted, Renkewitz took to Instagram to express his frustration with the agency, accusing them of dishonesty in a video posted on Thursday.

“It’s a complete falsehood,” asserts the video, vehemently denying the allegations. “They conveniently omit the fact that I actually submitted the necessary paperwork for a hearing. Moreover, they fail to mention the fact that they unlawfully confiscated my beloved dogs. Their actions were deceptive, and the whole truth is being withheld from the public.”

According to Renkewitz, it is important to note that the dogs were not subjected to any form of abuse. Unfortunately, he was unavailable for comment on Friday.

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