Nearly 100 neglected sled dogs were rescued in a cooperative effort led by the Humane Society International and the SPCA Laurentides-Labelle in Quebec.
“As we walked onto the property, my heart broke. The huskies had been chained to plywood structures over barren stretches of frozen mud. Hungry and dehydrated, they were unable to move more than the two-meter radius their chains permitted,” said Rebecca Aldworth, Director of the Humane Society International.
Some of the dogs were blind and about 30 were reported to be pregnant. The owner, who wasn’t able to afford proper care, handed the dogs over, in exchange for not being criminally charged or fined, despite the level of neglect.
According to Nikolas Gour, a spokesman for the Humane Society, the deal was struck with the owner to rescue the dogs because the, “Canadian federal criminal code is woefully inadequate for addressing issues like this, and it’s difficult to get a conviction when having to prove the intent to cruelty to animals.”
According to the criminal code in place, this treatment of animals may not have even resulted in an offense. In any case, animal welfare organizations are working on stronger legislation at the federal and provincial levels. The government has hired new inspectors, increased fines and awarded money to animal shelters.
The dogs who were found malnourished and dehydrated are now on their way to recovery and new homes in an emergency shelter. What’s sad here, in addition to cases of neglected sled dogs being common, is that the laws aren’t strong enough to even bother trying to pursue criminal charges against someone who would leave their animals in such unacceptable conditions, leaving them entirely unaccountable and free to do it again.