Featured Adoptable Sleddie – Spetz

Part of the humane mushing movement involves rehabilitating, networking, and rehoming industry sled dogs. Just like retired and rescued greyhounds, Alaskan Huskies make amazing companions when given the opportunity to be included in your life. I’d like to introduce you to one such “sleddie,” as we call them, who is looking for her forever home.

selfie

Spetz is a retired sled dog looking for her retirement home. She is a friendly, sociable, and outgoing dog. She already knows some basic obedience such as “sit”. She is an active dog so needs lots of exercise (she loves going for bike rides and hikes) and outings with a guardian. She may be a senior but she’s definitely not slowing down yet. Typical of huskies, she can be a talker and howls so will need a guardian who is ok with that (as well as one who has understanding neighbours). She will require a guardian who can keep her busy so she doesn’t get bored and get herself into trouble. She would make a great partner in adventure.

adventure

 

Spetz likes to be with people so may get anxious when left alone. She will need to get used to spending time alone slowly a few minutes at a time. She may possibly be able to live with another dog though she can be selective of those she likes. She has become friends with a couple young, playful male dogs while at the shelter and is certainly ready to play. Spetz would also do best in a home without young kids though older children (10+) would be likely be fine. The energy level of younger children may be a little overwhelming for her. Spetz is looking for an active guardian who can spend lot of time with her. She has lots of love to give a lucky guardian and will make a loving companion! Spetz can not be in a home with cats or small animals as she does have a unhealthy interest and is prone to chasing.

Her foster mom has this to say:

She is a social gal! She may also be slightly vain, because she responds very well to being told how beautiful she is, and she often stops to admire her reflection! On the flip side, she is not suited to a home where she will be left alone, it just makes her lonely and sad. Retirement shouldn’t be lonely and sad.

She’s no shrinking violet! When she has something she needs to communicate, she looks you in the eye and says it! Her favorite topics of conversation are “Let’s do something fun together!” and “I would love to eat dinner early!”

She is a Lady, and a Senior Lady at that. She has earned her stripes and she believes other Dogs should follow the Lady Spetz Rules of Order. Once another Dog demonstrates their understanding of her rules, things go very well! She is currently fostered with a young male and a female puppy. These younger dogs have adopted her Rules of Order and the three of them live harmoniously – in fact Spetz often initiates playtime. She would likely be very happy to have another dog in her forever home, as long as it was a dog who could understand and adopt her rules. Living with another dog may also help her spend time without her people present.

Spetz is very curious about cats. Maybe a little too curious for most cats to think she’s awesome. Her foster cats do not think she is awesome. They are coexisting (with some human facilitation), so although it is possible, a home without cats would be ideal.

Spunky Lady Spetz loves running, sniffing, exploring, and also loves the car rides that take her to those exciting places! She is very fun to walk and hike with, but she does not need a ton of exercise. She is older and has spent her life working as a sled dog, so now it’s time to take a more relaxed approach to her days.

daydream

Spetz is dreaming of her forever home. If you’re interested in her, please e-mail the BC SPCA, visit at 5850 Auto Road SE, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2X2, call 250-832-7376, or check out her adoption page for more information and photographs.

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Pennsylvania House Bill 1238

State Representative Dan Miller recently posted the following:

For the first time in a generation, Pennsylvania has updated its animal cruelty law and I am pleased to announce that the changes in Act 10 become effective today.

It took two sessions, but HB 1238, which was more commonly known as Libre’s Law, was signed by Governor Wolf this past June. I strongly supported this bill both in the Judiciary Committee and the House floor, where it did not find unanimous support. HB 1238 wasn’t a perfect bill, and compromise was needed, but I am convinced that it was an important step forward in making sure animals are treated humanely in our commonwealth.

Here is a snapshot of some of the highlights of the updated law:

hb1238

Seeing this, we rejoice! Then, we take a look a the actual text of the law:

5536. Tethering of unattended dog.
(a) Presumptions.–
(1) Tethering an unattended dog out of doors for less
than nine hours within a 24-hour period when all of the
following conditions are present shall create a rebuttable
presumption that a dog has not been the subject of neglect
within the meaning of section 5532:

(i) The tether is of a type commonly used for the
size and breed of dog and is at least three times the
length of the dog as measured from the tip of its nose to
the base of its tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer.
(ii) The tether is secured to a well-fitted collar
or harness by means of a swivel anchor, swivel latch or
other mechanism designed to prevent the dog from becoming
entangled.
(iii) The tethered dog has access to potable water
and an area of shade that permits the dog to escape the
direct rays of the sun.
(iv) The dog has not been tethered for longer than
30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees
Fahrenheit.

(2) The presence of any of the following conditions
regarding tethering an unattended dog out of doors shall
create a rebuttable presumption that a dog has been the
subject of neglect within the meaning of section 5532:
(i) Excessive waste or excrement in the area where
the dog is tethered.
(ii) Open sores or wounds on the dog’s body.
(iii) The use of a tow or log chain, or a choke,
pinch, prong or chain collar.

(b) Construction.--This section shall not be construed to
prohibit any of the following:
(1) Tethering a dog while actively engaged in lawful
hunting, exhibition, performance events or field training.
(2) Tethering a hunting, sporting or sledding dog breed
where tethering is integral to the training, conditioning or
purpose of the dog.

After examining the literal text of the law, we end up with this statement:

“This section shall not be construed to prohibit tethering a sledding dog breed where tethering is integral to the training, conditioning, or purpose of the dog.”

…where…tethering…is…integral…to…training…conditioning…purpose…

Let us examine this:

The dictionary definition of integral is: “necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental.” Tethering is neither “necessary,” “essential,” nor “fundamental” to the keeping and training of sled dogs.

Both Mush With PRIDE (3rd Edition 2009) and the British Columbia Sled Dog Code of Practice (BCSDCP) (January 20, 2012) discuss the multiple means of confinement for sled dogs, including praising methods other than tethering – therefore proving that tethering is not “necessary.”

Mush with PRIDE states that, “runs or pens must be large enough to allow dogs to perform most behaviors that are typical of their species. It is recommended that pens provide at least 100 square feet of space for each dog housed within them. Many certified behaviorists have observed that dogs spend time exercising in rectangular pens rather than in square, so a pen measuring 10’x20’ would be very effective for two dogs housed together.” (Source: http://bit.ly/2gu7QEd)

The BCSDCP states that, “a containment system is a secure area such as a pen, run or kennel or the area within which a tethered sled dog may roam. The length of time that sled dogs are contained and the way that it is done can have a significant impact on their welfare.” They go on further to state that, “sled dogs are very social creatures and they thrive in an environment in which they can interact with their teammates. Isolating sled dogs from the company of their teammates has been associated with an increased incidence of behavioral abnormalities.” (Source: http://bit.ly/2vvzNBV)

Nowhere in their documentation does either organization state that living tethered, as opposed to penned, has any influence on training or conditioning.

Another source,  “Additional Comments on Draft Regulations for the Animal Health Protection Act Division,” submitted by Alanna Devine, BA, BCL, LLB, Director of Animal Welfare at the MSPCA; by Lauren Scott, Humane Society International (HSI)/Canada Campaigner; and by Johanne Tasse, President of Companion Animal Adoption Centers of Quebec (CaacQ), states: (Source: http://ww.bit/ly/2nWtSO6)

The Montreal SPCA, HIS International/Canada, and the CaacQ continue to support the position that permanent tethering of dogs, even those tethered in groups, is detrimental to their physical and psychological wellbeing. At the meeting outlined in the document, a musher – Ms. Caroline Morin, who houses her sled dogs in groups within large packs, explained that, “there are physical and psychological advantages of housing sled dogs in groups which cannot be achieved if the dogs are tethered.” Ms. Morin has chosen to house her dogs in packs in large parks as they are able to play, establish dominance, and express natural behaviors in a manner that they cannot do if they are permanently tethered.

Also from the document:

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM, BVMS, MRCVS, specialist in canine behavior, “Healthy canine interaction and socialization requires the dogs to be able to physically interact and play with each other – which cannot be achieved when dogs are tethered.”

He went on to state that:

”The Cornell study cannot be used to support the premise that tethering dogs in groups, is favorable for their mental well-being when compared to appropriate forms of housing dogs. There is no way that being tethered increases opportunities for socialization. Claims that tethered dogs have greater access to socialization show how subjective the research was toward what was observed.”

Therefore, due to the verbiage of the law, the tethering restrictions implemented by HB1238 can (and should) be enforced upon existing sled dog kennels in the state of Pennsylvania.

It is our hope that, by working with the humane mushing community, we can effectively eliminate such exemptions from future laws altogether. The World Sleddog Association clearly states: “Unfortunately, in some countries it is permitted to keep dogs on chains. Nevertheless, this practice should be rejected by all sled dog organizations nationally and internationally. Sled dog organizations should engage with mushers practicing this with the aim to abolish this practice.” (Source: http://bit.ly/2eqbgTU)

Members of the World Sleddog Association include Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, and Ukraine. It is time for the United States and Canada to join the global humane mushing community and abandon the outdated, inhumane method of chaining sled dogs.

Tuuluuwak Kennel Sled Dog Disaster – A Follow-Up

Nearly two weeks later, both lost Tuuluuwak dogs with rewards (Ukiuk and Malick) have been found, along with their teammates: Pakak, Tenoch, Tuuq, and Qilaq. It has been confirmed that Malick is headed back to his breeder in the states. We are unaware of where Ukiuk and the remaining dogs will end up, though it appears Steve’s daughter-in-law has shown interest in acquiring them. Whether or not they will be chained remains uncertain. SHARP has updated us that Aklak, Siluk, Uno, Valor, and Kinu have also been recovered. Hero, Fabby, and Ursula are presumed dead, according to rescue workers. We are leaving them with the lost dog photos, just in case they are still out there. Many dogs still remain unaccounted for, and are featured below:

And just like that, in the span of a month, another sled dog kennel has dumped a handful of dogs across numerous shelters, and reportedly killed others. There were eight newborn puppies on the premises when Steve decided to abruptly end his involvement in the sport of mushing, according to his daughter-in-law. These puppies have not been spoken of by rescues, shelters, or mushers who found Steve’s dogs loose.

As the situation was unfolding, mushers were quick to change their photos of Steve’s dogs from public to private. The primary rescue involved with searching shelters for his dogs refused to release his name. The mushing club to which he belonged remained silent. Instead of banding together to try and help, the inner mushing circle panicked and attempted to erase all mention of him from the internet. This same scenario happened when Bob Fawcett slaughtered the Whistler dogs. He had been Vice President of Mush With PRIDE at the time, but was quickly scrubbed from the website and meeting minutes.

bobfawcett

Both the Whistler and Tuuluuwak cases are prime examples of why the mushing industry is not capable of self-regulation. Culling, abandonment, and neglect are so rampant in the sport, that mushers will merely sweep cases that go public under the rug instead of working to mend the sport from the inside out.

During this catastrophe, we were left with a couple questions…

  • Where was The Canadian Coalition for Sled Dogs? Their mission statement reads, “our work ensures every sled dog in Canada is humanely cared for and protected by advocating for nation-wide codes of conduct and stringent standards.” They have been incorporated since August 23rd, 2012. Why was a well-known musher like Steve Laviolette allowed to cull and abandon his dogs? Where were the oversight regulations that the Coalition claims to be putting in place? Where was the rescue and support network?
  • Where was Mush With PRIDE? The organization’s very own president, Karen Ramstead, had her dog’s littermate (Carmack’s Slider, littermate to Carmack’s Wifi at NorthWapiti) killed by Steve Laviolette. Why did PRIDE not step in? Why have they not publicly condemned his actions? Why were they not involved in the rescue of the remaining dogs?
  • Lastly, where were the breeders? Only two breeders put an effort into finding their lost dogs – CoeStar and HaagenDaz. One breeder, Sumbawa Siberians, even knew that SHARP had taken in one of their dogs, and did nothing. Other breeders simply lamented about the situation on their Facebook pages, called Steve an asshole, and left all the hard work up to SHARP.

Though they refused to name the musher, SHARP was the only organization to step up in the area to help the dogs in the Tuuluuwak case. Their latest update is as follows:

“16 dogs were found stray by the pound. The pound relocated/adopted 11 of them and we did 5. Our 5 went to very reputable rescues and the rescues intend to keep them as they are in the best possible care. ”

SHARP took in a total of 3 dogs through the rescue system.
These dogs have been identified and all associated parties have been informed.

1 dog was adopted out direct from a different shelter in QC.
The prior owner of this dog has full details of the adoption which took place in July.

It is the 11 dogs adopted DIRECT from the shelter in Quebec that we do not have confirmation of identity on. Not all shelters have extensive paperwork, especially if they are smaller rural ones.

If you have one of the aforementioned dogs shown above, please e-mail us at humanemushing@gmail.com so we can update their status as “found.”

 

Tuuluuwak Sled Dog Kennel Disaster – What We Know So Far

This is a preliminary press release, created for PETA and numerous news outlets. This story is ongoing and, as such, will have additional pieces published as more information comes to light. This story has been written by Ashley Keith, founder of HumaneMushing.com

The Tuuluuwak Sled Dog Disaster

Steven Laviolette is a 4th generation musher who has operated a touring kennel for the past 20 years, and who has run sled dogs for the past 30+ years. He competed in the 2010 SHCC South Central Rig Race Bikejor 2-Miler, the 2011 Bancroft Sleddog Race 8-Dog 50-Miler, and the 2017 Canadian Challenge Race 12-Dog 336-Miler. He lives in Ste-Lucie-des-Laurentides, Quebec, and was planning to run the 2018 Yukon Quest. His kennel name is Tuuluuwak – but you’d be hard-pressed to find it anywhere on the internet after the past week. For reasons unbeknownst to most, Steven killed a handful of his dogs and scattered the rest throughout Quebec kill-shelters during the first week of August.

The Siberian Husky Assistance & Rescue Program of Canada (SHARP) took on the monumental task of scouring kill shelters in an attempt to find, pull, and rescue the Tuuluuwak kennel sled dogs – all of which were purebred Siberian Huskies. According to Mush With PRIDE President, Karen Ramstead, the dogs that SHARP was involved in helping “only represents the 20 left at the end,” which leads us to ask how many dogs he had in his care – an answer the mushing community has been hesitant to disclose.

His daughter-in-law, an aspiring 2018 Yukon Quest musher, stated in a message with Humane Mushing founder, Ashley Keith, that Steven had 20 adult dogs and 8 newborn puppies in his kennel at the time that he shut down his operation at the beginning of August.  However, according to online sources, Steven was abandoning his dogs well before then. His daughter-in-law has admitted that he has had as many as 150 sled dogs at one time. When he started culling is still unclear – though his daughter in law stated he did not have all 150 going into 2017.

On the Mushing Quebec Facebook page, there is a shared article dating back to July 1st, which lists “a dozen dogs loose and no collars.” One of these dogs has been identified as Malick, a Tuuluuwak kennel dog fetching a reward of $10,000 from his breeder, CoeStar Siberians. Another of these dogs has been identified as Ukiuk, a Tuuluuwak kennel dog who currently has a “lost” posting out from his breeder, HaagenDaz Siberians. Due to the fact that HaagenDaz has their Facebook page privatized, and that the photos on their .com are limited – we are unsure as to whether or not they chain their dogs. Therefore, at this time, we are not sharing the “in search of” post they put out for Ukiuk, as we want to make every effort possible to make sure that he ends up in a proper home where he will not be chained. As CoeStar keeps a small number and includes their dogs as members of their household, we have been sharing their reward poster for Malick.

There is confirmation that at least one kennel – Sumbawa Siberians – had one of their dogs found and has left it in the care of SHARP to rehabilitate and rehome. Though this is part of the problem we are trying to curb within our sport – mushers not being responsible for their dogs and offspring throughout their entire lives – we are glad that this particular dog will NOT be returning to its musher, who proudly posts photos of her dogs chained to dilapidated structures, with little to no grooming, in Adin, California. Today’s high in Adin is 82 degrees – far too hot for a northern breed, especially one that hasn’t been groomed, to be chained outside. Sumbawa musher, April Cox, said in another online thread that Steven also had a second dog from her, who apparently did not make it out of the cull.

Steven, like most mushers in the industry, was a huge proponent of chaining. You can listen to him defend the cruel, outdated practice in his near hour-long interview with Cruzlin Schubert. The episode is described as such: “During this episode, I am going to speak with Steven Laviolette and his family about not just living with sled dogs, but living life THROUGH them. For those listening that already roll with this crazy life in and around sled dogs, you understand the sacrifices, the joys and the mushing lifestyle. But as this sport makes its rebound, with young folks up and coming, enthusiast and companion owners of these Northern Breeds getting interested for the first time in mushing, opening up the campfire style discussions of just what it takes to maintain a kennel of healthy, happy sled dogs, but the lessons these dogs teach us about how to live, and how to love. The everyday upkeep of a mushing kennel is just where this life begins. You tell most folks out there just the basics of nutritious diets, fresh water, clean kennels, vetting and of course daily exercise in harness, and they scratch their heads and wonder not only WHY we continue to do what we do, but do so with such passion and determination. THAT is what I would like this conversation with the Tuuluuwak mushers to cover.” You can listen to the interview here: http://bit.ly/2vfYwH7