11 large animals euthanized at Elbert County wildlife sanctuary

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. — A wildlife sanctuary in Elbert County euthanized 11 large animals because of flooding concerns and after the board of commissioners denied a relocation permit.

Lion’s Gate Sanctuary said it humanely put down five bears, three lions and three tigers on Thursday. Co-owner Joan Laub said it was done because of flooding on the property made it unsafe for the animals and the public.

Laub said the sanctuary at the east end of the county near Agate tried to relocate to another 43-acre property near Elizabeth.

RELATED: Lion’s Gate Sanctuary statement

“We had a solution,” she said in a statement. “We were approved by the state of Colorado, Elbert County Planning Department and Elbert County planning commissioners.”

But on April 12, the board of commissioners denied the request in a 3-0 vote over concerns of the number of homes in the area and the owner’s emergency plan.

A previous planning commission vote approved the request to move as long as the emergency response plan was OK’d by the County Office of Emergency Management, the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office, the Elizabeth Fire Protection District and the Colorado State Division of Wildlife.

“The three new Elbert County commissioners were the ones that denied us,” Laub said. “We were not given a fair hearing. … Ultimately, we were clearly more concerned about safety than the three county commissioners who did not take our application seriously and were more concerned with votes.”