Sled Dog Culling Reports (February 2, 2011)
Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) Council and staff are shocked and saddened by the reports of sled dog culling that allegedly took place outside of the Whistler municipal boundaries in April 2010. We were made aware of the allegations on Monday, January 31. Since then, this has generated a massive response from our local community, visitors, and many others. On behalf of Council and staff I want to acknowledge everyone that has expressed concern around this tragic and serious issue.
Whistler is a responsible, caring community. We have a highly animal-friendly culture, which is demonstrated through our large dog population, many pet-friendly programs for the community and visitors, and the outstanding work of our local animal welfare agency Whistler Animals Galore (WAG). Whistler has an exceptional reputation for offering safe, well-managed activities for our millions of annual visitors. Our community has been shaken by these allegations.
The sled dog matter is under investigation and many reported claims have not been confirmed. The RCMP investigation is expected to last several weeks, while an SPCA-driven investigation is also underway.
While all of the facts around this issue are not yet available, Whistler Council believes that the situation has brought to light a need to look at formal guidelines and regulations within the dog sledding sector. The RMOW supports the task force announced today by Premier Gordon Campbell, which will review the regulation of the industry and the alleged incident, and help to prevent future incidents. The review will include the following for the entire dog sledding sector across the Province:
- A review of responsibilities, regulation and policy governing the dog sledding industry.
- A review of the response by all agencies involved, upon being made aware of the dog killings.
- Any further issues that arise during the course of the review.
The RMOW has received many questions regarding revoking the business license of the operator. Outdoor Adventures at Whistler and Howling Dog Tours Whistler Inc. do have municipal business licenses for their activity booking office, which is located in Whistler Village. We are awaiting more information from the RCMP before considering any action regarding the companies’ business licenses. While the office is in Whistler, dog sled operations—which are not permitted within Whistler—take place outside of municipal boundaries and are licensed in the Squamish Lillooet Regional District.
Until there is further clarity around allegations, Tourism Whistler has suspended the sale of Whistler Outdoor Adventures activities via Whistler.com and the Whistler Visitor Centre.
Again, on behalf of Council and staff I would like to thank everyone who has expressed their concern around this disturbing matter, and who want to affect positive action. The RMOW will continue to monitor the situation and will report back with any new information.
Resort Municipality of Whistler