Just weeks after we told you about the slaughter of 100 dogs by a dogsled tour operator in British Columbia, 14 dogs used to pull sleds near Southend, Saskatchewan, have been killed after one of the dogs, who had been temporarily let off her tether, attacked a 4-year-old boy. The boy was hospitalized, and the dog was subsequently hit by a car and killed. The 13 other dogs were shot by their owner for reasons that remain unclear.
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When they aren't pulling sleds, most dogs used to pull sleds are kept tethered on short ropes or chains or confined to small pens. They are deprived of everything that is natural and important to dogs, such as exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship. Not surprisingly, dogs kept in such conditions often develop psychological problems—knowing they have no means of escape, they become intensely fearful of anyone who approaches, even a small child, and resort to "fighting" (i.e., biting), since flight is not an option.
This tragedy serves as yet another reminder never to patronize any dogsled races or rides, and if you see a company promoting dogsled rides, explain that it will not get your business as long as it promotes cruelty to dogs.
Written by Michelle Sherrow