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Outrage over sled dog slaughter

“It’s time for us to come forward and defend the animal that has defended us for hundreds of years,” says Louis De Jaeger, seen here with his Siberian huskies Juno and Yukon. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
“It’s time for us to come forward and defend the animal that has defended us for hundreds of years,” says Louis De Jaeger, seen here with his Siberian huskies Juno and Yukon.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Anger about the slaughter of sled dogs by a Whistler adventure company has touched Chilliwack.

“It was just sickening to hear about this,” said Louis De Jaeger, a member of the Chilliwack Métis Association, and a Siberian husky dog owner. “We run for exercise and for fun.”

The shocking news about the large number of sled dogs who were killed horrifically last spring just hit home.

“What a senseless tragedy that threatens to leave a black mark on such an overall good experience last year with the Winter Olympics,” he said.

De Jaeger enjoys dog sledding and was also disappointed to hear the Vancouver Humane Society had called for a ban on dog sled tours earlier this week.

But there is also a cultural dimension to the bond, he argued.

“What drives me to speak up for this breed as a Métis is not just the physical ties we share but an emotional one as well. It’s time for us to come forward and defend the animal that has defended us for hundreds of years. Culturally we are connected.”

Les Mitchell, president of Chilliwack Métis Association, fired a letter off to Whistler officials calling for swift action against the touring company.

“Dog sledding has been a part of Canadian culture for hundreds of years, and a part of Métis Aboriginal heritage,” said Mitchell. “These animals deserve the same respect they have shown us.”

B.C. SPCA is investigating the cull.

Premier Gordon Campbell also called for a task force to look into the allegations of inhumane treatment of about 100 dogs of mostly husky type breeds, who were killed over two days in a mass cull. The adventure company allegedly ordered the cull of about one-third of the sled dogs after business plummeted last spring.

Later the worker tasked with the grisly job sought counselling for post-traumatic stress syndrome.

“We do want the company to be shut down,” said De Jaeger. “Someone has to be held responsible for this. It’s an unforgivable offence really.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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