Sled dog protection in British Columbia
Following the release of recommendations by the provincially appointed Sled Dog Task Force in April 2011, B.C. Government amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) to demonstrate acts of cruelty against animals will not be tolerated in the province. The 2011 PCA Act amendments included increased penalties for animal cruelty to fines up to $75,000 and jail terms of up to two years.
In 2012, B.C. Government, the sled dog industry, veterinarians, and the BC SCPA jointly created Canada's first Sled Dog Code of Practice (the Code), and sled dog standards of care regulation (the Regulation) to enhance the health and welfare of all sled dogs in B.C. While the Code has been used primarily as a guidance document, the Regulation is enforceable under the PCA Act and establishes legal requirements for things such as containment, health and working conditions. The Code was developed by a Standards of Care Working Group, comprised of Sled dog industry representatives, veterinarians, the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), animal welfare researchers, and B.C. Ministry of Agriculture staff.
The Code and Regulation were reviewed by stakeholder survey in October 2013. The results indicated a high level of satisfaction with both the Code and Regulation.