Update below: Over the years, we've regularly reported about the Scarlet Ranch, a local swingers' club operated by Kendall Seifert — and back in 2012, when the operation relocated from 424 Broadway to the former Northwoods Inn steakhouse in Littleton, we noted that the 18,000-square-foot log-cabin-esque retreat was set on "several acres of 'beautifully manicured landscape'" that would be used in part for an animal-rescue operation.
"It's something [Seifert] says he's been doing for twenty years," we wrote, adding, "When he acquired the property, he moved his rescue operation from his house.... In addition to squirrels, Seifert has taken in a fawn, five ducks and three show bunnies."
Since then, what Seifert christened the Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue grew in size and scope — at least until last month, when Colorado Parks and Wildlife declined to renew the operation's license and seized dozens of animals at the location for what a spokeswoman characterizes as repeated violations of state law. In the process, CPW acknowledges that 23 animals had to be euthanized.
Seifert is spitting mad about the development, which he thinks was prompted by officials' discomfort at the proximity of the refuge to the swingers' club — and he's reportedly planning to sue the state over what went down.
Here's how the Scarlet Ranch is described on its website:
Since 2003, Scarlet Ranch has been Denver's only private lifestyle resort attracting more than 450 new members every month from all states and around the world. As the top lifestyle facility in the country, Scarlet Ranch is proud to provide events that set the standard for fun & erotic evenings. With an average age of 37, we attract an upscale clientele between the ages of 21 through 60's. We host major events every week in our multi-level main lodge. During the summer months, we also host outdoor events on our grounds. Our outdoor hot tubs are open year round, as well as our tipi, with custom lounges, fire pit and 50" LED monitor.
Open 5 days a week (Wednesday through Sunday) we operate with a full-time staff of 17 and 24 part-time dedicated professionals to create a safe, memorable & erotic experience second to none.
The Scarlet Ranch home page makes no references to Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue, and vice versa. In an e-mail to Westword, Seifert stresses that they are separate operations.
Here's the description of the rescue operation from its separate website:
Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit. We are the states' largest facility of its type that care for wildlife that has been injured, sick, orphaned or habituated to humans. Our goal is to return these creatures back into their appropriate habitats.
We are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, year round for intakes. Please call during evening hours for emergencies.
However, the father of a Cub Scout whose pack visited Squirrel Creek last month made note of the joint operations in an amusing Facebook account, accompanied by a several photos.
Went with PJ's Cub Scout meeting to Squirrel Creek Wildlife Refuge this evening. I was surprised to see it located in the back and basement of the Squirrel Creek Lodge. The Squirrel Creek Lodge rents out the upper front area to a Scarlet Ranch Swingers Club on weekends. The spot once was the location of the Northwoods Inn, a popular family steak house.
The cub scouts saw the animals being rehabbed inside the facility. Then they took them outside to some large enclosures where they keep animals that are just about well enough to be released. The have mostly squirrels, raccoon and rabbits.
Across from the cages was a outdoor stage and and several cabanas with mattresses and pillows inside them. There was also an outside bar in between some of the outdoor rehab enclosures. The cabanas were completely open to the front. One of the kids asked, "Why are there mattresses in those places?" The parents kept mum.
Definitely a different kind of place.
This post was shared on March 15. The next day, Colorado Parks and Wildlife made its move.
This is the CPW account of what happened, as shared on its Facebook page yesterday:
CPW issued an administrative denial of renewal for the wildlife rehabilitation license issued in 2015 to Kendall Seifert of Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue in Littleton. While we can't release all of the details of the case as it is an ongoing investigation, here is what we can tell you:
The denial for reissue as of March 16, 2016, was issued after we detected over 150 violations of state law.
After our veterinarian examined the animals, 66 have been released back into the wild and 4 have been sent to other rehab facilities. Unfortunately, 23 animals were euthanized due to injuries or illnesses that weren't being addressed.
We value the more than 80 licensed wildlife rehabilitators across Colorado and the important work they do. Our mission is to enforces laws with the primary goals of protecting public safety and protecting the wildlife of Colorado.
We do not take pleasure in euthanizing animals, which is why we take the licensing of wildlife rehabilitators seriously. As more details about the investigation become available we will share them.
Seifert isn't meekly accepting the license non-renewal and seizure of the animals.
In a 9News interview, he questioned the CPW's numbers — he says there were around 150 animals on site, not fewer than 100 — and alleged that he was being targeted for his ownership of Scarlet Ranch, which he says funded the rescue.
He also dropped heavy hints about a possible lawsuit.
For now, however, the only wildlife cavorting at the facility will be the human kind.
Here's the 9News report.
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Editor's note: After the original publication of this post, Kendall Seifert contacted Westword to say that Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue hasn't been "shut down" — the words used in the 9News video above as well as our item. Rather, it has simply had its license renewal denied. In addition, animals at the location were either returned to the wild, sent to other rehab facilities or euthanized. He also stresses that Scarlet Ranch and the animal rescue are completely separate operations, even though proceeds from the swinger's club help fund the wildlife nonprofit. We've altered the post's original headline and the text to reflect this information.