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40 dogs seized from sled dog operation in West Kootenays

Last Updated Feb 18, 2021 at 4:41 pm PDT

(Photo Credit: Robyn McMurphy Courtesy BC SPCA)
Summary

The dogs seized near Slao were suffering from a variety of issues, ranging from hypothermia to behavioural problems

The investigation continues and it's not clear what exact charges would be recommended

SALMO (NEWS 1130) — After apparently giving the person taking care of the animals time to fix their living conditions, the BC SPCA has seized 40 dogs from a West Kootenay sled dog operation.

On Tuesday, animal protection officers went to the property with a warrant, just outside of Salmo, where they found the dogs suffering from a variety of issues, ranging from hypothermia to behavioural problems. The dogs range in age from six months old to being seniors.

“We had to remove the dogs that met the definition of distressed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act,” explains Marcie Moriarty, Chief Prevention Officer for the BC SPCA, “the breeds varied from mixed breeds, short coat hair, to, some of that being boarded were of the Pit Bull variety. There was a lot of variety there, but the welfare concerns for these animals was widespread.”

 

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The site was apparently also serving as a “behavioural modification” service, according to Moriarty.

“When the constables along with the veterinarians attended on Tuesday, they identified a number of concerns, including inadequate shelter, which is very problematic – given how cold the weather has been lately,” she tells NEWS 1130.

Moriarty says the site was actively offering sled dog tours to the public, and because of this it will be subject to the Sled Dog Code of Practice. The code was developed in 2012, and is the first of its kind to ensure that a standard of care was being met for the animals.

The practice emerged after the death of dozens of sled dogs near Whistler, who were killed in 2010. Moriarty, who also worked on the Whistler case, says they’re tough to compare, but what happened more than a decade ago could potentially help the animals in this case.

“These regulations really assisted us in addressing this particular case because there were such clear standards set out. What I can say is that the regulations did provide us with that very clear path forward as to what we could do, with respects to assisting these particular dogs,” she explains.

Moriarty says the investigation continues and it’s not clear what exact charges would be recommended. In the meantime, they’re focused on ensuring the animals seized get the care they need – this includes holding off on adopting the dogs out.