Howling Dogs dog sled team from Whistler, BC on Seymour Mountain, North Vancouver, BC parking lot.
I’m a school bus driver and on this particular afternoon I had a group of teens that were going tubing on Seymour Mountain. It was a beautiful day, with a hint of fresh snow it was a little cloudy but nice. It was quiet and then the most disturbing thing happened that and I felt helpless! I’ll try and explain from the beginning. When I got there, there was a fifth wheel trailer already parked in the tubing parking lot and I didn’t think any more of it. Up drives this truck with dog compartments (cages) on the back. Their was 8 to 10 cages to each side, and in the cages I thought there was only one dog in each but I was mistaken some had 2 or 3 dogs in them. I did notice that the cages had hay on the bottoms so that was okay. I still didn’t think to much about it and at this point the dogs were pretty passive. What followed next was very disturbing. The guys I think there was 4 of them got to work setting up camp. I don’t know how long they were going to be there. First they attached the lead wires the dogs were going to be tethered to, the 5th wheel trailer and it was about a good twenty feet in length. Then they attached the lead lines. These lines were about 24” in length and about 24 inches apart. After this they then started emptying the cages. At this point the dogs started going crazy. The way they took the dogs out of the cages is what got my full attention!!! When they opened the cage they got the dogs collar and pulled the dog out, they held the dog by the collar so that only his back feet were touching the ground and they had to hop on two feet to where there lead was. Once the dog was attached they proceeded to empty all the cages in the same manner. Almost like clock work the dogs started to relieve themselves almost as soon as they were tethered. As you can see, where they were attached they had to relieve themselves. They and the dogs next to them had to walk through it as there was no place for them to go. By the time they had attached all the dogs they were all barking , howling, whining, and crying !!!! Some of them had very disturbing actions. I couldn’t stay away any longer so I started to walk over to them. I always thought sled dogs where Huskies, Malamutes, etc. so I was surprised that most of the dogs had short hair. No under coat. I went to the farthest dog first. He was a big suck. And he just melted when I gave him attention. At this point I noticed a blond dog behind the truck and went over to her to give her some rubs and I noticed she had an open sore on her tail. She was so thin my heart went out to her. She had no meat on her bones and her hips bones stuck out and her ribs very prominent. As I made my way down the line I was so shocked with the condition of all the dogs. They were all as thin or thinner. I am a dog person and I have seen many starved dogs, and these dogs were so thin, their ribs were sticking out, the bones on their hips were sticking out with no meat on them at all. I asked one of the guys and he said that is how they were supposed to be!!!!! I‘M SORRY BUT THEY WERE NOT HEALTHY. One had a open sore on his leg., one had and open sore on his tail, and one had an open sore on his haunches. There was one little sole that was turning around and around in circles on his lead, I tried to pet him but he didn’t see me or hear me he just kept going in circles. There was a small dog that looked like a beagle with her tail tucked and shaking trying to stay away from the other dogs. She would not come near me at all. They gave the dogs water but some of the water looked like it had urine in it. I tried to get some information out of one of the fellows all that he had to say was the dogs were healthy and that they owned over 200 dogs and that these dogs were used for tourism pulling sleds on the mountains.
I would really like someone to go out and check on the conditions of how the poor dogs are cared for and hear their cries.
I am a tour guide in the summer months for a company that does tours to Whistler and if this is what tourism is in BC I think this province should take another look, because people are blind and only will see what they want to and I for one will not lay down and see animals abused for the profit of money and greed. I will never recommend anyone to do this sport.!!!!
Where is the Olympics going to be, with this happening? I won't be promoting the games!!!!
Someone please help these dogs !!!! I reported them to the SPCA but saw no changes at all!!
I can’t get this picture out of my mind, especially the little Beagle who was shivering and scared and cold with no protection from the elements .---- Original Message -----From: Sled Dog WatchdogTo: email@example.comSent: Friday, December 26, 2008 12:06 PMSubject: Question regarding BC SPCA policy on dog mushing/sled dog racing industryHello: I would appreciate receiving a policy statement regarding your organization's views of the dog mushing and sled dog racing industry, especially in light of the BC SPCA accepting charity money from sled dog race(s) in BC earlier this year. [http://aaswatchdog.com/cgi-bin/watchdog.pl/noframes/read/18167 ]Strictly from an animal welfare perspective, let alone an animal RIGHTS perspective, your organization should in no way sanction an industry in which so much ill-treatment of dogs is common (chaining, culling/killing, forcing dogs to race in order to gain money or provide entertainment for racing industry participants and fans).Please take time to educate yourselves about the cruelty and exploitation involved in the sled dog industry.Terry CummingSled Dog Watchdog Advocacy GroupWhitehorse, YukonNo answer except for the "Five Freedoms" auto-reply:
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2008 12:05:36 PM
Subject: Thank you for contacting the BC SPCA
Thank you for contacting the BC SPCA.
Due to the volume of requests we receive, it may take some time for us to respond. In the meantime you may find the answer to your question on our FAQ page or by doing a search at http://www.spca.bc.ca - if you are looking for adoptable animals visit http://www.spca.bc.ca/adoption/branches.asp.
Whereas: the world is inhabited by many species sharing a common ecosystem of air, earth, & water. We recognize & value our interconnectedness with all animals. Therefore, the BC SPCA is dedicated to protecting & enhancing the quality of life for the animals of the world we share. We pledge our energies to inspire & mobilize society to create a world in which all animals, who depend on humans for their well being, experience, as a minimum, 5 essential freedoms:
1. Freedom from hunger & thirst
2. Freedom from pain, injury, & disease
3. Freedom from distress
4. Freedom from discomfort
5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being
But we did find this BC SPCA Dog Sledding/Mushing Policy Statement from 2001
BC SPCA POLICY STATEMENT
Approved April 2001
#29 - DOG SLEDDING-MUSHING
The BC SPCA believes that Sled Dog Racing must be carried out under standard rules that are strictly enforced, with management guidelines that guarantee the animals will receive responsible care and humane treatment. The Society is committed to working with ISDRA and other legitimate dog sledding organizations to ensure the welfare and humane treatment of these dogs.
The competitive nature of the sport demands agility, speed and endurance of the animals. The intense competition and test of endurance can lead to stresses or injuries that raise welfare concerns. Individual preferences by mushers in the breeding, rearing, feeding, housing and training of the dogs must all practice humane care and handling at every stage of the animal's development.
The welfare of the dogs used in the sport may be compromised by, among other things: indiscriminate breeding; substandard housing; tethering (short chains); questionable feeding regimes leading to malnourishment (to produce lean animals); lack of exercise; racing ill, injured or fatigued animals; stimulative drugs; extreme endurance competition or training; cramped space (in transit); and cruel disciplining.
ISDRA: International Sled Dog Racing Association
- Mushing, dog sledding, sled dog racing: interchangeable
- Tethering: see BC SPCA Policy Statement #27