Vancouver – Video taken by animal advocates and provided to the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) allegedly shows sled dogs being held in cages and on chains in a barren yard at a kennel operated by Blackcomb Dogsled, a Whistler-based sled dog tour company.
The dogs in the video, seen here, are showing stereotypic behaviour, which is a purposeless repetitive action indicating psychological suffering. The dogs can be seen pacing back and forth in cages and repeatedly running in circles around the posts they are chained to.
“No dog should have to live like this,” said VHS projects and communications director Peter Fricker. “The dogs in the video are being denied the freedom to engage in normal behaviours, including socializing with other dogs or with human companions.”
VHS is launching a campaign calling on the B.C. government to update the provincial Sled Dog Standards of Care Regulation to conform to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations, which states that: “Tethering of dogs (i.e., chains or ropes used to tie the dog to an immoveable object such as a stake or building) is not allowable as a method of confining a dog to a primary enclosure, nor as the only means of containment.”
The Kennel Code also requires that: “Dogs are housed in such a way as to allow them to display natural behaviours, to socialize with or without other species of animals and humans, as appropriate, and to protect public safety.”
Fricker said the conditions shown in the video are not uncommon in sled dog operations across Canada and are not illegal. “These conditions are deplorable, yet there is nothing in the law to protect sled dogs from being treated this way.” He said VHS is urging the public to boycott sled dog tours.
B.C.’s Sled Dog Standards of Care Regulation, introduced after the infamous 2010 killing of 56 sled dogs in Whistler, still allows dogs to be tethered for up to 23 hours a day. The standards also allow sled dog tour companies in B.C. to shoot surplus sled dogs, provided the operator has “made reasonable efforts to rehome the sled dog, but those efforts have been unsuccessful” and the operator follows certain guidelines.
Contact Peter Fricker: 604 603 5401