Schmuck of the Week

Jeff Fortin's tale of dog breeding woes makes him our Shmuck of the Week

Jeff Fortin surrendered his dog breeding license last week -- much to the delight of animal lovers, who have been complaining about him for years. But he didn't do so before euthanizing 1,200 dogs at his Oberlin, Kansas puppy breeding business, where an outbreak of distemper in December kept him from selling hundreds of animals.

The story shocked animal rights activists, who have set up an online petition criticizing Fortin and who plan to hold at least one protest at his Denver pet store, North Washington Street Kennel.

According to news reports, the United States Department of Agriculture says Fortin has also violated rules about record keeping and health issues.

Fortin has run into trouble in Colorado in the past. At one point, he owned pet stores in Greeley and Longmont. In 2008, dog lovers staged numerous protests in Longmont after he was accused of storing thirteen puppies in a tiny enclosure, among other things.

Despite the outcry, Fortin will likely be allowed to start breeding dogs again after six months -- something that could keep him in the doghouse for a long time.

For more shmucks, visit our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes