EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Painted Paws for Veterans ranch in Peyton has announced that it has to move to a new location soon because of drainage and flooding issues that the owners say they can't afford to fix.
Painted Paws is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that rescues dogs scheduled to be euthanized at traditional animal shelters, or rescued from puppy mills and other difficult environments -- making them unadoptable by the general public -- and matches those dogs with military veterans as a form of therapy.
"We started this place because I'm an Army veteran who has PTSD and I needed a therapy dog to help me cope with that," said co-owner Tyler Warrick. "She helped me to get out of bed, to have something else, a purpose in life, other than just moping around and feeling sorry for myself."
Tyler runs the ranch with his wife Sara; they claim that El Paso County officials won't make repairs to Sampson Road -- the road and hill that dead-end at the ranch -- and stop large amounts of water from draining onto the property and causing damage.
"Water drains onto our property in three directions from the properties above us," Sara explains. "From the drainage ditches and even over the top of the fields. The only culvert is clogged with debris. We've tried blocking the drainage with rocks, hay bales and logs. Nothing works. Only one neighbor has helped us."
However, El Paso County officials say that Sampson is a private road that the county has no jurisdiction over, and is owned by surrounding neighbors who use it to gain access to their properties.
In a letter posted by the Warricks Sunday on the ranch's Facebook page, heavy rain in June damaged buildings and yards on the property and covered it with animal waste, trash and other debris from the properties above, leaving toxic weeds and plants to grow in the dog areas.
The Warricks say that the vegetation can make dogs sick if their dogs eat it.
Fighting the county on this matter, or resolving the drainage issues themselves, would be too expensive than moving to another location, the Warricks say.
The couple has obtained a loan and is looking for another location for 70 dogs, two cats and the cottages where the animals are kept.
The Warricks say that they hope to relocate the ranch by the end of January and have created a GoFundMe account to cover moving costs.