A year after 56 sled dogs were uncovered in a mass grave near Whistler, the British Columbia government has introduced a revised “code of practice” for the sled dog industry.
The Sled Dog Code of Practice sets standards for the care of dogs used for sledding, including new limits on tethering, and stricter regulations on the use of euthanasia, The Canadian Press reports.
But many believe the changes don’t go nearly far enough.
The British Columbia SPCA uncovered 56 dead dogs last year, some of which had been shot, some with their throats cut. The mass grave came to light after an employee filed a worker’s compensation claim saying he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after killing the animals in a company-ordered cull.
“This document, both the code and the regulations, will help inform the industry (and) provide minimum standards that will improve working dogs’ welfare,” said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the SPCA.
Moriarty, who helped develop the code, said it will lead to an end to near continuous tethering, which has been one of the main concerns about the industry. Under the new regulations sled dogs must get at least one opportunity a day to be off their tethers to socialize and exercise.
The new code imposes no limits on the number of dogs a sled dog operation can have, and it doesn’t stop sledding operations from culling their workers (dogs), but it emphasizes that killing sled dogs shouldn’t be used as a primary means of population control.
(Photo: British Columbia SPCA)