Forty dogs were seized by the SPCA after their conditions and care were found to be “distressing” and contravene to Canada’s Sled Dog Code of Practice.

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The B.C. SPCA has iced a West Kootenay sled dog operation that had been keeping its animals in allegedly distressing conditions.

Forty dogs were seized on Feb. 16, after SPCA animal protection officers served a warrant on the property, located outside of Salmo.

The SPCA said there were several concerns about the dogs’ welfare and environment, including inadequate shelter, hypothermia, suspected dehydration and stereotypical (repetitive) behaviour witnessed in some of the dogs.

An ad hoc “behavioural modification” service and boarding on the property, and a number of dogs in distress from these areas, were among the 40 animals removed.

SPCA staff with a dog seized from a Salmo, B.C., sled dog operation.

“In 2012, the Province of British Columbia, veterinarians, the B.C. SPCA and the sled dog industry jointly created Canada’s first Sled Dog Code of Practice, which sets out standards of care for the health and welfare of sled dogs,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA.

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“The code includes standards for housing, feeding, veterinary care, exercise and socialization, grooming and transportation,” she said, adding conditions on the property were in direct violation of some areas of the code.

“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 with certain areas of the code that resulted in the dogs meeting the definition of distress under the legislation, and so we moved forward with a warrant to ensure the dogs got the care they required.”

The dogs have been transported to various SPCA locations, where they’re receiving veterinary treatment and care. The investigation into the animal cruelty case continues and the animals aren’t available for adoption at this time.

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