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New sled dog regulation a “good first step”

February 20, 2012

The BC SPCA is calling the new regulation and code of practice for the care of sled dogs in B.C., announced by the provincial government today, a “good step forward”.  “We were pleased to be part of this process as we believe it is vital that animals used in recreation and tourism be protected and that their welfare not be compromised for the sake of profit,” said Craig Daniell, chief executive officer for the BC SPCA. Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC SPCA, participated in the development of the regulation.

Daniell added that the SPCA is pleased that the government plans to review the regulation in a year to determine the impact that the new standards of care are having on the sled dog industry and to examine where the regulation needs to be strengthened and improved.

One of the ongoing improvements the SPCA would like to see is in the area of tethering. “One of our main concerns regarding the sled dog industry has always been the continuous tethering of dogs,” says Daniell. “We fought very hard to ensure that this was not permitted in the new regulation. While the provision that dogs must be allowed off their tether at least once every 24-hours is a good first step, we believe this needs to go further in the future until sled dog operations do not use this practice at all.” He notes that there are some excellent sled dog operations in B.C. who do not tether their animals at all. “SnowPack Siberian Adventures in the North Thompson is one example of an operation that offers good welfare while still remaining financially viable. We would like to see the industry move to this standard.”

Daniell also said that while the new regulation does provide a tool for the BC SPCA to use in its own investigations, it is important to note that it would be physically impossible for the 26 constables funded by SPCA donors to conduct onsite visits to sled dog operations. “We simply do not have the resources to do this in addition to the more than 7,000 animal cruelty investigations our constables already conduct each year across the province. The provincial government has made it clear to the BC SPCA that it does not intend to provide any funding at all for cruelty investigations or any aspect of the SPCA’s work, so if the regulation is to be enforced the government will have to allocate the funds needed to make this happen.”

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

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