B.C. SPCA seizes 40 sled dogs from West Kootenay property

·2 min read
The B.C. SPCA says it seized 40 dogs from a West Kootenay sled dog business. One of the dogs is pictured here.
The B.C. SPCA says it seized 40 dogs from a West Kootenay sled dog business. One of the dogs is pictured here.

(B.C. SPCA - image credit)

The B.C. SPCA has taken 40 dogs from a West Kootenay sledding operation that it says were facing numerous animal welfare concerns.

The animals were seized on Tuesday, the SPCA said in a statement, after a warrant was executed at Spirit of the North Kennels outside Salmo, B.C.

The SPCA said the dogs at the sledding operation had inadequate shelter, hypothermia and suspected dehydration. Stereotypical, or repetitive, behaviour was witnessed in some of the dogs.

Chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said in the statement some conditions on the property were in violation of the Sled Dog Code of Practice which is aimed at improving welfare for sled dogs.

B.C. SPCA
B.C. SPCA

"Our officers worked with this individual, providing clear direction on what changes needed to be made and giving him an opportunity to improve conditions, but he refused to substantially comply," Moriarty said. "We moved forward with a warrant to ensure the dogs got the care they required."

Moriarty said there was also an "ad-hoc 'behavioural modification' service" and boarding on the property. Dogs in distress were taken from those areas of the property as well.

Moriarty said about six to nine of the dogs at the facility were not the owner's and arrangements are being made to contact the owners of those dogs.

B.C. SPCA
B.C. SPCA

Owner speaks out

The kennel's owner, 82-year-old Al Magaw, said he runs dog mushing trips and rehabilitates problem animals for the public.

Magaw said he's been running the business for more than four decades and will fight to get these dogs back.

"This is my life they are screwing with," Magaw said. "My reputation and years and years of caring for dogs."

The SPCA said the dogs have been taken to several of its Interior B.C. locations for veterinary care.

An animal cruelty investigation continues, the SPCA said, and the dogs are not available for adoption at this time.

B.C. SPCA
B.C. SPCA