The BC SPCA has seized 40 dogs from a West Kootenay sled dog operation. The animals were rescued and taken into BC SPCA care on Feb. 16, after SPCA animal protection officers executed a warrant on the property, located outside of Salmo, B.C.
Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, says there were a number of welfare concerns for the animals, including inadequate shelter, hypothermia, suspected dehydration and stereotypical behaviour witnessed in some of the dogs.
“In 2012, the Province of British Columbia, veterinarians, the BC SPCA and the sled dog industry jointly created Canada’s first Sled Dog Code of Practice, which sets out standards of care for the health and welfare of sled dogs,” she says. “The code includes standards for housing, feeding, veterinary care, exercise and socialization, grooming and transportation.”
Moriarty says conditions on the property were in direct violation of some areas of the code. “Our officers worked with this individual, providing clear direction on what changes needed to be made and giving him an opportunity to improve conditions, but he refused to substantially comply with certain areas of the code that resulted in the dogs meeting the definition of distress under the legislation, and so we moved forward with a warrant to ensure the dogs got the care they required.”
Moriarty says the individual also operated an ad-hoc “behavioural modification” service and boarding on the property and a number of dogs in distress from these areas were among the 40 dogs removed.
The dogs have been transported to various SPCA locations, where they are receiving veterinary treatment and ongoing care. The investigation into the animal cruelty case continues and the animals are not available for adoption at this time.