Sled Dog Massacre Leads to Government Proposal to Improve B.C.’s Animal Protection LawsPosted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on April 5, 2011
June 1, 2011: Great news! The recommendations were enacted and are now in effect.
The British Columbia government released a report today from a sled dog task force recommending a number of improvements to the laws protecting sled dogs and other animals – improvements the government said it intended to implement. The government task force was assembled in the wake of reports detailing last year’s sled dog massacre in which over a 100 dogs were reportedly slaughtered. Earlier this year, former Premier Gordon Campbell charged the task force with reviewing the circumstances related to the sled dog killings and make recommendations to prevent such an incident from occurring again.
“British Columbians have said clearly that cruel or inhumane treatment of sled dogs or any other animal is simply not acceptable,” said Premier Christy Clark in a government press release. “That’s why we are acting on all of the recommendations of the Sled Dog Task Force and sending a strong message that those who engage in that type of behaviour will be punished under tough new laws.”
Many of the recommendations mirror improvements that ALDF has noted and championed for B.C. in our annual Canadian rankings reports which analyze and compare the animal protection laws of all the provinces and territories of Canada. ALDF releases similar reports for the U.S.
Recommended improvements include:
- Increasing the maximum penalties for offenses to up to $75,000 and 24 months imprisonment
- Extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting offenses
- Requiring mandatory reporting by veterinarians of suspected animal abuse
- Creating a regulatory authority to define Standards of Care for animals
- Establishing a working group to develop a sled dog Standards of Care
- Requiring that all sled dog companies operating on government land include in their management plans annual inspections by either the BC SPCA or a licensed veterinarian
The government also announced that a Crown counsel has been appointed with an expertise in the area of animal cruelty to increase awareness among prosecutors, and that a $100,000 grant has been awarded to the BC SPCA to enhance its capacity to undertake animal cruelty investigations.
ALDF commends the B.C. government for supporting these improvements and will continue to work to ensure that sled dogs and all animals are fully protected throughout British Columbia. In addition, ALDF’s $1,000 reward – for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone engaged in the illegal killing of sled dogs in the U.S. or Canada – is still active.