Every dog out there deserves a great life that includes toys and a spot on the couch, as well as balanced diet and lots of love and kindness. Those who own one, know that they are not just pets, they’re members of the family.
However, not all dogs get the same treatment.
In Canada, tourists love to go on sled dog adventures. These dogs are put to work in the name of tourism all throughout the winter. However, when it’s not snowing, these dogs are basically put into storage.
In a field in Ontario, row after row of tethered sled dogs are exposed to the blistering summer sun and heat. With nowhere to go for shelter from the elements and only a few feet to move around, any rational person can see that this is animal abuse. You can see the anxiety and sadness in their faces, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. They can’t even interact with each other because of the short chains that are constantly attached to their necks.
The barrels provided as “shelter” are most likely even hotter than the 100 degrees out in the open.
Chocpaw Expeditions, the sled dog kennel responsible for these animals, isn’t technically breaking any laws, as they do provide the dogs with food, water, and so-called shelter. But, hopefully, that will soon change.
Sled dog activist and filmmaker Fern Levitt drove three hours in the middle of a heat wave this July to check up on the dogs. This wasn’t the first time she’d driven to make sure the dogs were ok. Her first visit in 2010 revealed the poor conditions these dogs live in, and it sparked the battle she is still fighting with the Ontario SPCA to require more from organizations like Chocpaw Expeditions.
When she arrived on the Property, a Chocpaw Expeditions employee told her she was trespassing on private property and asked her to leave. She still managed to get the video proof below before having to leave the property.
Melissa Kosowan, acting associate director of communications for the OSPCA, has said that:
“We are working with the owner to make improvements relating to shelter to address deficiencies… our investigation remains open as we work to ensure the dogs are receiving the care they require by law. The welfare of these dogs is our priority.”
In 2016, Levitt created a documentary called “Sled Dogs” to shed light on this so-called “rest period” that the dogs endure from May to October. Clearly, she’s doing everything in her power to right this wrong.
“Their lives in the summer are a far cry from the ‘lovely’ pictures of the dogs pulling sleds in the snow in the winter. These companies must build shelters for the dogs so they are not exposed to the elements, and make sure there is enough staff on board so the dogs get proper care,” she says.
Now that you know the truth about this industry, it’s time to spread the word! These dogs deserve more out of life. More space to run and expend their pent-up energy, better shelter, and the chance to simply be dogs. If you would like to help the cause, you can sign this petition to better sled dogs’ living conditions during the offseason.
“You wouldn’t chain the winner of a race to a small wooden shack for days on end, so why do it to man’s closest companion?”
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