FILE. (Pxhere)

FILE. (Pxhere)

15 charged following protests at two Alberta kennels that provide sled dog tours

RCMP say they were called to the Mad Dogs and Englishmen kennels east of Canmore

More than a dozen people affiliated with an animal rights group have been arrested in a protest against sled dog kennels, months after the same organization’s occupation of a turkey barn prompted the Alberta government to promise a crackdown on rural trespassers.

RCMP say they were called to the Mad Dogs and Englishmen kennels east of Canmore, Alta., on Saturday morning when approximately 30 protesters allegedly broke into the kennels to protest the treatment of the dogs.

Police say 15 people, including one young person, were arrested and face charges of break and enter to commit mischief.

A news release from the group Liberation Lockdown says protesters “locked down” the kennel as well as another, Howling Dog Tours, alleging the dogs were tethered for days at a time on very short leashes.

Liberation Lockdown also converged on the Jumbo Valley Hutterite turkey farm near Fort Macleod, Alta., on Sept. 2, spurring Premier Jason Kenney to announce that existing laws will be amended to crack down on protesters who go onto private agricultural land without permission.

No one from Mad Dogs and Englishmen could be immediately reached for comment, but a statement from Howling Dog Tours says its facility exceeds regulatory requirements and has had regular inspections from the SPCA and provincial government in recent months.

“It is unfortunate that a group of people, who know that no laws are being broken, can protest this way to push their values,” Howling Dog Tours owner Rich Bittner said in the statement.

Police say all of the accused from Saturday’s incident have been released and will appear in provincial court in Canmore on Jan. 15, 2020.

Trev Miller, an organizer with the protesters, said they entered the properties to “raise awareness of conditions that are perfectly legal,” claiming animals frequently have sores on their necks and no hair from where collars leash them to poles.

“We’re asking that inherent rights of non-human animals, including the right to live free from human exploitation on short leashes, be recognized for all individuals and that animal livestock operations be replaced with non-oppressive industries,” Miller said in a news release.

The Alberta SPCA said in a statement that in cases this year where it has received complaints about the conditions of dogs used in the sled dog industry, its peace officers have not found there to be distress as defined by the Animal Protection Act.

Back in September, three adults and a 16-year-old girl were charged with break and enter to commit mischief following the sit-in at Jumbo Valley Hutterite turkey farm.

The farm operator said animal welfare standards and rules were being followed.

The Alberta government says it is looking at setting trespassing fines up to $10,000 for a first-time offence and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences, with a possible six months in jail.

Fines for organizations would be up to $200,000.

There could also be changes to health and safety rules so that farmers could recover costs if protests put the health of animals or humans at risk. Protesters who created such health risks could be fined between $15,000 and $30,000 and face up to a year in jail.

Alberta will also dedicate a Crown prosecutor to handle agricultural cases.

A spokesman for Ontario’s agriculture minister said in September that the province had not ruled out similar legislation, but planned to first discuss it further with agriculture stakeholders.

Ontario mink farmers have been the target of animal rights activists, who have released hundreds of the animals from barns.

ALSO READ: B.C. dog trainer caught on camera slamming dog into concrete loses 4 pets

—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A scratch was visible on Bryson Belmas’ neck after an incident at school. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge mother says school not doing enough for bullied son

Ashley Belmas meeting with school officials at Laity View Elementary on Tuesday, Mar. 2

The group opposing CP Rail’s proposed logistics park in Pitt Meadows has gathered signs and other materials to rally opposition. (Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows challenges CP’s process for choosing logistics park site

Site evaluation was ‘fundamentally flawed in its methodology’ asserts city

A group of tenancy advocates picketed outside the home of CWI managing principal, Bill Mitsui on Saturday, Feb 27. (Special to The News)
Housing advocates picket outside West Vancouver home of Maple Ridge apartment building landlord

Joyce Lachance said her son was unfairly evicted from Cityviews Village in February

After a routine rescue of an injured hiker, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue noted there have been four injury rescues on well-groomed trails in recent months. (Special to The News)
Injured hiker rescued from Golden Ears park

Be prepared in the backcountry, warns Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue

Steven Powell will fix up the recovered three-wheeler and donate it. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Maple Ridge man’s stolen trike recovered

Community Safety Officers found the bike outside downtown Tim Hortons after receiving multiple tips

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read