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 New BC Sled Dogs Regulation Proposed is Rediculous

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Mushergal Posted - 10/28/2011 : 7:49:34 PM
The SPCA and CVMA are trying to add a new regulation to the BC sled dogs regulations.

The regulation is; each and every sleddog must recieve an hour a day excersise, every day of the year "out of it's form of confinement". So if they're chained, off the chain and if they're penned out of the pen.

Obviously that is rediculous. Most pet owners, veteranarians and boarding kennels do not ensure each dog in their care is walked 'out of confinment' an hour a day. To expect this from mushers is blatent discrimination.

This needs to be fought for the sake of all BC mushers! It is an unmeetable requirement and could very well be part of an agenda to stop mushing!

My dogs have kennels for summer excerise and if I was to try to meet the requirement of having them out of the kennels I would either spend all day walking dogs (thus not being able for any upkeep in other areas) or I would have to have them free and that would end up in dead or lost dogs.

Don McCRae (minister of agriculture) ,Pam Shatzko (Minister of agriculture) and Wes Shoemaker (deputy minister of agriculture)are all contacts to send our opinions on this too. Also, of course, local government officals and MLA.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
AdventureSource Posted - 11/04/2011 : 11:00:38 PM
This is not a good thing for mushers but I assure you that there are people fighting very hard to create common ground and reasonable solutions for all mushers in BC.
Mushergal Posted - 11/02/2011 : 9:27:18 PM
Swanny, if you did not notice, I did place in my source. The deputy minister of agriculture confirmed that they were looking into adding this regulation.

Also, the BC sled dog reccomendations (thus far, anyway) are specifically aimed at mushers. I did put in names, which are going to be removed due to request (I did not mean to insult anyone!) This is targeting mushers, and in my opinion it is a direct bid to end mushing or at least make the sport extremely restricted. I challange the government, if they want to include that regulation, to not be discrimitory and put include all pet owners and businesses. If we have to do it, then vet clinics, kennels, pets stoees, rescues and pet owners should too. Period.

Here in BC, there seems to be very, very little done to stop Puppymills. Recently, there has been far more press on the cruelty of mushing than anything on Puppymills.

I agree that we need to regulate our own ranks. But, we also need to protect our rights.
swanny Posted - 11/02/2011 : 12:27:47 PM
The most that has been achieved in most cases is exemption for sled dogs--which may or may not stand in the long term.

If it hasn't come your way, it will. And my question is whether these laws, no matter how well intended, enhance the lives of sled dogs.

So, why have we been able to obtain those exemptions? Several reasons come to mind.
1 - sled dog kennels are not the targets of the proposed regulations. Generally they are aimed at so-called "puppy mills", "dog fighting kennels" and so forth.

2 - mushers have thus far been able to support our most common practices with the best currently available evidence. So long as our kennel management practices continue to be based on the best available scientific information and we remain diligent and willing to explain our practices to the ignorant (especially the ignorant politicians and bureaucrats responsible for establishing laws and regulations), we can most likely maintain those exemptions.

Keeping pace with the sciences affecting animal husbandry and presenting the best available evidence is already a tough job. Chasing ghosts simply distracts us from taking more effective action. That's why I've asked about the source of the rumor regarding SPCA and CVMA trying to add an "out of confinement" exercise requirement. If it isn't real, it isn't worth spending a lot of time and worry over.

That's also why I demand that people name names and cite specific details when alleging abuses by dog mushers. More often than not they turn out to be ghost stories, and I just don't have the time and energy necessary to chase phantoms.
Admin Posted - 11/01/2011 : 12:40:39 PM
Beside the fact what the BC regs may come down to, is mandating an hour a day outside of it's (I prefer their) confinement going to solve abuse? I don't see it, but I do see totally unrealistic demands on the already demanding management of sled dog kennels.

If mushers living in the Lower 48 have been watching, they're aware that county by county attempts are being made to impose very restrictive laws regarding housing, water, tethering, numbers of dogs, breeding, etc. The most that has been achieved in most cases is exemption for sled dogs--which may or may not stand in the long term.

If it hasn't come your way, it will. And my question is whether these laws, no matter how well intended, enhance the lives of sled dogs.
midnightwind Posted - 10/31/2011 : 3:08:30 PM
How are they going to enforce a regulation like that?

Through nasty neighbours and other enemies of kennels. See the thread "MN anyone petition St. Louis Cty.?" The potential is for spurious regs such as this one to be used against individual kennels on a complaint basis. The urbanised areas are spreading at an alarming rate and as former rural areas aquire more and more housing developments the potential for conflict increases. This is the intent of the enemies of our sport, as pointed out elsewhere, to eliminate us kennel by kennel with an ever increasing load of expensive and restrictive regulations.

Pete Neilson
MusherChic Posted - 10/31/2011 : 11:22:44 AM
I'm with Dillon on this one. How are they going to enforce a regulation like that?

I don't get the whole "out of confinement" thing. I mean, I get that they want sled dogs who are chained to be exercised (obviously) but what about people who have a big exercise yard where they exercise their dogs? They won't be able to use that anymore because the dogs must be "out of confinement"??
Most sled dogs cannot be loose so to exercise them out of confinement would mean walking them on a leash.
Oh wait, that's still a form of confinement!
So, what do they want mushers to do? Let all of their dogs loose so they can get hit by cars, lost, or otherwise injured?

I would like to see people like the CVMA and the SPCA in Canada (or any place where they are a lot of sled dog kennels like Alaska and Michigan for example) have some education on sled dogs so they can make regulations that will actually help and not hinder the sport of mushing. A rule like
each and every sleddog must recieve an hour a day excersise, every day of the year "out of it's form of confinement".
is just not realistic for sled dogs. Their intentions are good but it's just not realistic.
(How many pet dogs get exercise out of their home everyday?)

I do agree that sled dogs need exercise (other than running) but that's why most mushers either have their dog yard fenced in so they can free run or they have a separate fenced in yard for this purpose.

Maybe that^^ itself isn't realistic but it sounds ideal to me. **shrugs**

Mushergal Posted - 10/30/2011 : 10:18:10 PM
Hi Everyone.

We first recieved this information from an anonymous source. When we emailed Wes Shoemaker (Deputy Misister of Agriculture) he did confirm that they were considering adding this regulation. It has not yet been added to the recommendations, and from what we understand it is going to be a requirement. Mr, Shoemaker did say, however, "I am confident that we can arrive at a solution that balances the welfare of these animals with the operational requirements of sled dog operators. No final decisions have yet been made on this element of the Code." I encourage you all to contact him. If we argue it enough, maybe we can avoid having it finalized.

Please keep in mind that we do excersise our dogs -together- in large pens. However, according to the regulation that they have to be 'out of confinment' that is not good enough.

ChuckCubbison Posted - 10/30/2011 : 10:33:02 AM
Colorado did institute a similar requirement this past year. Ever since the state kennel regulations were implemented, there has been a restriction against tethering. There has also been an exemption for sled dogs. This past year, as part of the process to revise these regulations, several committee members (including an HSUS representative) were pushing to remove the tethering exemption. They were not successful in pushing that through, but did get through additional requirements to qualify for the tethering exemption, including a requirement for a plan for daily off-tether exercise for every dog. Members of the mushing community argued that this was ridiculous, since a tethered dog actually has a larger exercise area than a kenneled dog, but this argument fell on deaf ears.

BTW, there are interesting parallels with the BC situation, since the attention of HSUS and other groups was heightened in response to allegations brought against a large sled touring operation in our state. It is the opinion of some of the folks who were involved in the process to revise the regulations, that the changes were brought to the table with the direct intention of putting this particular tour operator out of business.
shore Posted - 10/30/2011 : 09:32:04 AM
In the interest of "seeing what's really going on here" I took a look at the BC Sled Dog Task Force's output: recommendations (and that's all they are) for standards of care. There may be some more specific recommendations for time off-chain elsewhere but nowhere in this document could I find any specific requirement for an hour out of confinement. Standards of Care document here: Press release with abbreviated recommendations is here:

Tour companies which want to operate on crown land must be inspected annually, but if you're not offering commercial services on public land it doesn't apply.

But anyway, I looked at the CVMA website and the BC government website, and did broader searches, and could not find a single reference to what's being claimed here.
RSmith Posted - 10/30/2011 : 07:56:39 AM
My dogs are in outdoor/indoor 12 X 24 pens and they just don't get out EVERY DAY of the week. However, as a WHOLE, they get out lets just say 325 days of the year BEYOND running on a team.
There are days you just can't do it. Doesn't mean the dogs are not happy and TBO most of the time they are NOT out running loose is when its either pouring, a complete white out or -25F and blowing. And at those times most dogs are inside pens keeping warm and don't even WANT to go out.
Do all of us humans get out for exercise EVERY day of the year?
Do world class human athletes even get out EVERY day?

It just ain't gonna happen and IMO is crazy, and I don't live in BC.

Better start petitioning or seeing what's really going on there.
As we all know, the 'outsiders' and AR groups really haven't a clue as to what we do with our dogs when they don't SEE it. It's just what they happen to see when they 'drive by' or at odd times,etc. they have NO IDEA what most mushers do MOST of the time.

cricket Posted - 10/30/2011 : 02:39:37 AM
i am very good freinds with the regional director of the spca based out of cranbrook b.c. and asked her about this today she had no idea of what i was talking about
swanny Posted - 10/29/2011 : 3:12:33 PM
Mushergal, what is the source of your information? I've been trying to follow developments from the BC Task Force pretty closely, and have heard nothing similar to this at all. I'd like to follow up on it.

Dillon_Husky Posted - 10/29/2011 : 12:02:30 PM
Seems like an unenforcible regulation to me. Unless someone's (outside of the kennel owner/s) keeping track of each dogs' daily exercise, there's no way to say whether each dog has been off it's chain (or out of their kennel) for an hour a day. And seeing as no one is going to do that, why have the law in the first place? Just my opinion...
Dog Mushers Dad Posted - 10/29/2011 : 06:40:09 AM
Cricket - Seriously!

This new legislation as proposed is obviously a means to deter mushing.

You cannot just single out any one group in anything under the law. This is the core value in all of the anti discrimination laws. Laws that are incorporated in any free country.

We keep a large portion of our kennel in 10X20 runs. These provide them the opportunity to get loads of exercise. So much so that it becomes difficult to keep weight on them. At last count we have 46 dogs in our kennel. Are we supposed to take each dog from a 10X20 run and walk them for an hour each day. There are only 24 hours in a day. So I guess under this regulation I would have to hire five full time dog walkers. No kennel could afford that.
cricket Posted - 10/29/2011 : 12:01:46 AM
why is that rediculous it just means that u have to train your dogs to be freinds `

build a large free run kenneland learn wich dogs go good with each other it will take some time and yes their might be some stitches but dont leave them un supervised it really isnt that big of a deal

what a shame spending time with your dogs and enjoying their company

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