07 February 2011

Animal Legal Defense Fund offers reward for information on sled dog massacres

After the shocking news that 100 sled dogs were executed in British Columbia due to ‘a slow winter season’ the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone killing sled dogs in the U.S. or Canada.

The case came to light last week when the General Manager of Howling Dog Tours filed a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder after being ordered to kill the dogs by the owner of the company. As we reported, the dogs were shot or had their throats cut in view of the other dogs, and their bodies were thrown into a mass grave.

There is now an animal cruelty investigation into the incident, but some example reports in the media are suggesting that this could be a standard practice in the mushing industry:

* The Anchorage Daily News ran an article written by Iditarod musher John Cooper about disposing of unwanted puppies by throwing them in a creek.
* Frank Winkler (another Iditarod musher) charged with animal cruelty after killing 14 puppies with an ax handle.
* Dan MacEachen (owner of the sled dog center and Snowmass Village in Colorado) shooting unwanted dogs and burying them in a pit.
* In the Anchorage Daily News again, musher Charlie Campbell said “I’m definitely going to have to cull the dogs,” and “We’re going to have to be ruthless about who we keep.”
* Musher Frank Turner told CBC, “Competitive kennels… often breed more dogs than they’re actually going to able to keep, afford to keep and pay for the vet bills, the food and all the other associated costs.”

The British Columbia government has announced they will consider changes to the dog sledding industry, but currently in the U.S. it is practically unregulated and in Alaska mushing has even been made exempt from animal cruelty laws completely.

If you have any information on dog culls in the sledding industry, please contact the ALDF at 707-795-2533 extension 1035.

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/http2007