Save the Sled Dog: Reform British Columbia's Anti-Cruelty to Animals Law
  • Petitioned Christy Clark

This petition was delivered to:

Christy Clark
Joan McIntyre
VP Liaison
Director Heath Slee
Finance and Government Services Committee
Bill Routley
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Katrine Conroy
Legislative Initiatives Committee
John Slater
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Richard Lee
Finance and Government Services Committee, Chair
John Les
Ministry of Agriculture
Don McRae
Finance and Government Services Committee
Norm Letnick
Ministry of Natural Resources
Steve Thomson
Finance and Government Services Committee
John Rustad
Finance and Government Services Committee
Jane Thornthwaite
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Pat Pimm
Ministry of Tourism, Trade & Investment
Pat Bell
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Dave Hayer
Mary McNeil
Kash Heed
Adrian Dix
Bill Barisoff
Attorney General
Barry Penner
Vice Chair, Community Safety Committee
Councillor Kevin Flyn
Shane Simpson
Community Safety Committee
Mayor James Atebe
Mable Elmore
Community Safety Committee
Councillor Tim Stevenson
Senior Policy Advisor
Ken Vance
Dr. Moira Stilwell
Jenny Wai Ching Kwan
Colin Hansen
Spencer Chandra Herbert
Ralph Sultan
Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid
Finance and Government Services Committee
John van Dongen
Finance and Government Services Committee, Deputy Chair
Doug Donaldson
Finance and Government Services Committee
Michelle Mungall
Finance and Government Services Committee
Bruce Ralston
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Mike Farnworth
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Rob Fleming
Legislative Initiatives Committee
Eric Foster

Save the Sled Dog: Reform British Columbia's Anti-Cruelty to Animals Law

    1. Petition by

      IS Foundation

June 2011


Following the recent discovery that 100 sled dogs had been brutally killed in British Columbia, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) took on the mission of reforming the province's Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act. ISF started a petition on, which more than 60,000 people from around the world signed, asking for a series of critical changes to protect British Columbia's animals from future tragedies.

The petition gained the attention of the government-appointed Sled Dog Task Force, which cited ISF's recommended amendments for "increased penalty provisions, new requirements for the inspection of commercial operations and the establishment of Standards of Care" in its final report. Those amendments (and more) were presented to the government.

In June 2011, the provincial government passed the recommended amendments into law. Thanks to the Sled Dog Task Force, and pressure from ISF and the community, British Columbia now has the strongest anti-cruelty laws in Canada.

UPDATE 04/07/11: The government-appointed task force has submitted recommendations that align with our requests to reform B.C.'s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Premier Clark has stated that the government will act on every recommendation, giving B.C. the strongest anti-cruelty laws in Canada. Now is the time to keep the pressure on to make sure the recommendations are enacted.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture and is an alarmingly ambiguous piece of legislation.  Some of the law dates back over 100 years.  Dogs and cats are defined strictly as property and there is no regulation in the act addressing businesses that work with animals such as sled dog companies. Without this regulation, a place of business cannot be shut down for acts of cruelty against animals.  This legislation is clearly in place only to protect the rights of owners with “animal property”, not the rights of animals.

A recent article by the Vancouver Sun revealed that the Howling Dog Tours manager who killed the dogs tried to contact the BC SPCA for help on two occasions.  The BC SPCA didn’t investigate the business and turned down the request to shelter the dogs, claiming the dogs were not adoptable.  

A task force has been assembled by BC Premier Gordon Campbell to do a thorough investigation of this case.  The outcome of their findings is to be reforms to the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.  

We must put a stop to animal cruelty by throwing our voices behind new legislation that regulates the roles of all animal welfare stakeholders and closes the loopholes that fail our animals.  The BC SPCA and all animal shelters in British Columbia need to be regulated to follow a “rescue and save” plan, not a “seize and kill” plan.

Premier Campbell’s task force will be reporting to Agriculture Minister Ben Stewart with recommendations for reformed legislation by March 25th, 2011.  Let’s raise our voices loud and clear for the Whistler 100 to ensure the task force's recommendiations are in favor of animal welfare.  There's needs to be real change to the Act and we must pull together and demand that change.

“The question is not, Can they reason? Nor Can they talk, but Can they suffer? ~ English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham

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Recent signatures


    1. British Columbia fell in the middle of Animal Legal Defense Fund's rankings of Canada's Best Places to Be an Animal Abuser:

      Passing stronger anti-cruelty legislation could push them into the top tier for animal protection in Canada.

    2. Legislation was introduced this week to to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. "B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture Don McRae said all of the amendments originated from the reported mass killing of 100 Whistler sled dogs."

      If passed, BC will have the strongest anti-cruelty laws in Canada. Keep the pressure on until this becomes law.

    3. The sled dog cull's criminal investigation is crucial to "all working animal". The mass grave exhumation is almost completed. BCSPCA will forge on with testing.

    4. So far 52 dogs recovered from mass grave.

    5. Progess begins on the criminal investigation of the killings of the 100 sled dogs. Today, the BCSPCA begins exuming the bodies of the dogs. Let's hope this will assist with the prosecution of Bob Fawcett who slaughtered these dogs.

    6. Calgary Herald covers vigil held for the Whistler 100 this weekend:

    7. Local BC activists are organizing a memorial on Saturday from 4-6 pm in honor of the anniversary of the killings of the Whistler 100. Vigil and memorial walk will take place at the Ord Road dog park. Kamloops-North Thompson MLA and Environment Minister Terry Lake may speak, and Angel’s Animal Rescue will also attend.

    8. Reached 50 signatures
    9. Ian thanks everyone of you who have signed the petition. Collectively our voices were heard.

    10. Pique magazine article on the recommendations by the task force and ISF's involvment.

    11. Progress! British Columbia Vows to Reform Anti-Cruelty Laws

      After the senseless culling of 100 sled dogs in Whistler, British Columbia, nearly 50,000 community members joined actor Ian Somerhalder (Lost, The Vampire Diaries) in calling on the province to reform its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals...

    12. Press Release from Premier Christy Clark. She wants to make the toughest animal rights laws in Canada.

    13. Governmental Task Force Report on Changes recommended after Sled Dog Killings. Much tougher penalties for criminal acts with $75,000 penalites and jail time of up to 24 months. Read the report here:

    14. Outdoor Adventures May Be Trying to Get Rid of More Dogs:

    15. In British Columbia, Debate Rages Over Sled Dogs (via The Dog Files)

    16. Have your kids spoken out against sled dog cruelty yet? Get involved with the ISF Kids Army:

    17. The Task Force's review of the sled dog killings was due to be completed last Friday. Stay tuned for the details as soon as we have them. In the meantime, keep the pressure on Canadian officials to update their anti-cruelty laws!

    18. Awating release of B.C. Governmental Task Force recommendations over Sled Dog Killings:

    19. MP Mark Holland and his campaign for effective legislation to stop anti-cruelty to animals - Bill C229:

    20. Help the silent victims of the Japan disaster. Pets who are abandoned, by law, will be euthanized 72 hours after the hold. Pets are not only displaced because of the disaster, but by foreigners who are leaving the country and not taking their dog or cat with them. Three of the better no-kill shelters have formed an alliance called JEARS to take in as many of the displaced pets as possible. Here is their Facebook page:

      JEARS is in desperate need of funding, here is their page that redirects to paypal:

    21. Task Force ready to submit report, will ask for regulation of dog sledding industry.

    22. Australia is thinking about killing "yappy" dogs. What is wrong with people?

    23. Dogs are just wonderful beings. Read this article about a Dog in Japan who would not leave the side of his ailing friend.

    24. Thank you to Malia Anliker who is 11 years old. She is the first to send in a kid's petition to be delivered to the targets of this petition.

    25. Keep up-to-date on the petition and the campaigns ISF is involved with at:


    Reasons for signing

    • Katrina Murray SASKATOON, CANADA
      • over 3 years ago

      This story was so heartbreaking. I hope this changes something!

      • over 3 years ago

      Hello, I am a deaf girl. I support ISF ...

    • Judy Richardson ARBORG, CANADA
      • over 3 years ago

      As a BC resident, please make me proud. Our province has the opportunity to have the best animal protection laws in the country. Let's do itR! Our animals need the protection.

    • Strat Chloé LUMBRES, FRANCE
      • over 3 years ago

      Yes we can ;)

      • over 3 years ago

      Hey Ian

      Congratulation for the ISF! I appreciate what you are doing here, we should have more like you! Because our world is the only place we have so far, we should take care of it, and not destroy or take advantage of everything. Doesn't matter if it's an animal, our environment or ourselves.

      Wish you all the best and if i can do anything more to help, please tell me.

      With lots of love from Switzerland



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