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Sled dog operators face new rules

Annual dog inspections required to operate on Crown Land



Sled dog companies operating on Crown Land are now required to have their dogs inspected every year by a veterinarian or a constable with BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The Sled Dog Task Force, which was created after it was learned that a number of Whistler sled dogs were euthanized "execution-style" in April of last year, recommended the change along with nine other recommendations.

Howling Dog Tours Whistler co-owner Bob Fawcett filed a claim with WorkSafeBC seeking reparation for psychological damage suffered from euthanizing the dogs.

When the WorkSafeBC document became public the BC SPCA launched an investigation then recommended cruelty charges under the criminal code against Fawcett.

While initial information suggested that 100 dogs had been killed, the SPCA's investigation found 56 remains.

The provincial Crown prosecutor's office is in the process of reviewing the massive amount of information generated from the investigation into the sled dog cull.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced on Saturday (Oct. 22) the new requirement would be part of the land tenure process.

Current operators with a tenure agreement will have to do an annual inspection as part of their business management plans. When the tenure comes up for renewal the annual inspections will be written into the tenure agreement.

This new requirement follows Premier Christy Clark's announcement in April that B.C. has brought in the toughest animal cruelty laws in Canada with higher penalties and greater accountability.

There are no inspection requirements laid out for operators on private property. When animal cruelty is suspected in those cases it falls to the BC SPCA to investigate and prosecute offenders under B.C.'s animal cruelty laws.



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