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19 February 2011


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Christie Keith

Donna, I'm trying to find out somewhere I can channel this fury... will post when I do!


H. Houlahan

The Terry Lane point of view would have all those loyal dogs serving in law enforcement shot in the head after their last shift sniffing for bombs or chasing down drug dealers.

Christina, that is exactly the "retirement" that was offered by the US military for all military working dogs, from the Korean War era until an act of Congress during the Clinton administration.

Because they were, you know, too vicious to, at the age of ten or twelve, retire to the sofa. Because military working dogs were "unadoptable."

Except, now, they are. (And WWII era military working dogs were also decommissioned back to civilian life.)

But that can't possibly be relevant to anything else, right?

Gina Spadafori

Admin note: We allow intelligent, informed and engaged discussion here. Hateful or violent speech will not be tolerated.

Unlock your cap key and take it elsewhere.

Rosa De Los Santos

I think you, MR Lane, Should go thru the same process when you are not able to care for yourself, IN fact NOW!! For your LAME BRAIN theory.........HOW can u, NOT even having a DR status come to this conclusion.........LIFE "IS" a Bitch............and LANE are making me become one!! YOU, MR lane do not deserve to Live either as far as I am concerned!!

Christie Keith

Right now, I've heard more about saving sled dogs' lives from the people at the freaking dog tour company that owned the killed dogs than the head of the local SPCA or the vet heading the task force. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

Nancy Hajeski

This vet's argument is both ridiculous and unfounded. Racing greyhounds aren't pets either and they make wonderful companion animals after retiring from sport. Feral dogs are rescued all the time and many of them adapt readily to life with humans. If we can take a dog that has lived on the street its whole life and turn it into a pet, then I don't see why human-handled huskies are a hopeless case. I wonder if anyone even tried contacting a rescue group before destroying these dogs. I think this "task force" needs another task force to investigate it!

Rob McMillin

Bob Fawcett, the sled dogs' executioner, was on the board of Mush with PRIDE until he got thrown under the bus. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out whether that organization gave a damn about dogs, or were just working PR cover for widespread industry practice.

Linda Tegarden

My hair is on fire I am so angry and disgusted. So much for those who said, let's be patient and wait until the verdict is in when they (assumes this task force is the "they") release their findings on March 25th... What a brutal culture you have there, when not even a professional animal caregiver, a doctor, has the moral core to be outraged at the magnitude of this slaughter. Shame, shame, shame Dr. Lane.

Susan Fox

This is absolutely stunning. All the people one would think who, based on their occupations, would be rushing to the dogs' defense, don't give a rat's ass about them. Total disconnect.

There seem to be deeply embedded, unexamined and unproven (actually easily disproven) assumptions about what "everyone knows" to be true about sled dogs operating here.

I think human ego and defensiveness have kicked in now, too. The wagons have been circled and they will fight to defend killing sled dogs rather than admit that, gasp, they may have been m-m-m-mistaken.

Mr. Lane needs to be tethered. He's clearly not socialized, possibly not housebroken. And obviously cannot be trusted around other animals.

Rob McMillin

Susan, from what I have read online, the BC SPCA isn't exactly the most beloved organization in that area among people who actually care about animals. I'm not quite sure why they exist, really ... the comments on the Feb. 2 article here had a number of good links regarding that organization.


This is outrageous. Protest people! Im in ontario and although far away geographically I'm very disturbed by this overly clinical outlook. This statement is absurd and deserves the public spotlight. For shame on the members of the taskforce

Margery Glickman

Just like Iditarod veterinarians, Terry Lane supports the abuse of sled dogs. Check out: http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks-poorvetcare.htm

Glenye Oakford

One of the things I find most mind-boggling is, if I'm reading Lake's quote correctly, he's saying that, for working dogs, there is a different (and one assumes, from the context, lower) standard of what is humane euthanasia. That what is humane differs for dogs strictly based on their job description. What?

And, yes, I too love the "not pets" thing and the implications for adoption that has. Sheesh.


Geesh - are you telling me this guy not only graduated from college with a 4 year degree but went back for a veterinary degree also?

Critical thinking is definitely not his forte. Let's see - if I follow his kind of reasoning - sled dogs are not /can not be pets; therefore, using that same reasoning: musher's are not human or civilized.

These sweeping statements of his are from the dark ages - this man is a dog bigot - the same kind that draws up breed specific legislation or sides with greyhound murderers because racing dogs don't make good pets.


Deja Vu. Christie, the understandably outraged pit bull owners on our facebook page want to know where to send letters in support of the humane disposition of sled dogs. Ideas?

Christina G

The Terry Lane point of view would have all those loyal dogs serving in law enforcement shot in the head after their last shift sniffing for bombs or chasing down drug dealers.

What an ignorant and asinine perspective.


I took the comments to indicate that sled dogs are not only unadoptable, but also that, if we are wanting to off 100 of them, we need to keep in mind that we're not going to be doing it via sedative/lethal injection.


Hannah Latreille

I wonder what Ceasar Millan would say if he'd heard something so lame and stupid. Ceasar is an advocate to rehabilitating ALL breeds of dogs including "working" dogs whether it be sled, greyhounds, herding or any other type of dog. All of them make great companions when treated with love. Terry Lane, you don't deserve to be a vet or on the task force for that matter. Your thoughts on this matter are ridiculous, unfounded and downright barbaric


Great- now Peta is joining the circus!

This whole thing is just unbelievable. Vets, heads of "humane" organizations and all they can say is KILL!

Angry beyond words here . . .


completely disgusted..... all about money is what it comes down too. im truley starting to hate this world and the pathetic people in it. if we have a vet & spca leader willing to do nothing about this, where are we at in the future? most people choose their carrers bec they love what they do. this entire organization of sled dogs carrying fat ass people around for profit needs to be put to an end. this is beyond words...... i honestly cant even write what is in my heart, it would be too offensive.


What a load of bull hockey.

H. Houlahan

Glenye, this is what I've been struggling with, tried to come at in my post on this topic.

Setting aside for a moment the standards for what constitutes "humane" when killing livestock, it seems that this vet is classing these dogs with the cows and chickens, in terms of our obligations towards them.

Just as puppymill breeder dogs, who produce expensive pets to live in people's homes and be loved, are themselves considered "livestock." (Well, machines is more like it, which gets back to how it happens that we now consider a pig a pork machine rather than an animal. Technological thinking has eliminated an entire ethical category -- one is either a mechanism or a person, possibly in a fur suit.)

I don't think there's any gray area about where a tour operator's sled dog -- or any non-human animal who is a trained working partner, much less one whose appeal and personality are meant to please the tourists -- lies in our ethical responsibilities.

What kind of being demands love and devotion and intelligence and willing service and then, like this vet, refuses any reciprocal consideration?

If the sled dog is a disposable machine, then who else?


The thousand puppy mill dogs were also killed basically because of the rationalisation that "they were not pets". This in spite of the fact that the puppies would have been pets if they'd survived just a few weeks longer.

If the local SPCA had been asked to step in there they'd have had no trouble at all rehoming any surviving pups but almost certainly a lot of problems rehoming surviving adults.

The sled dogs would have at least been sane and not terrified of everything.

I think to an extent arguing about whether or not particular breeds, or dogs with particular backgrounds are or aren't harder than normal to rehome is letting the owners off the hook. All of these cases involve dogs humans have chosen to use for recreation. There's no excuse for not making the relatively small changes (such as teaching breeding bitches to walk outdoors on a leash) which would make them readily adoptable once their commercial usefulness is over.


Like I said before, there won't be any justice from the official investigation. Predict the conclusion will be it was OK for him to shoot the dogs but he should have aimed better. Not joking here.

Getting mad is fine (I'm pissed as hell) but mad doesn't change a thing. Still need a way to do something that matters about this. These guys don't care about dogs, doing right, or any of that stuff. We need to hit them where it hurts--loss of money, bad PR that sticks like crap on their shoes and doesn't go away, whatever.

Any ideas?


Yes, he really did say that, didn't he? That because these dogs aren't 'pets,' there is and ought to be different and lesser standards for humane euthanasia. It seems to me that what he's doing is staking out a territory to defend: that while the killing of these dogs was indeed inhumane, the industry should be permitted to kill dogs en masse when their numbers become inconvenient, and do so in cheaply in the field - so long as it's 'humane,' by these lesser standards. Presumably, by shots to the head, and presumably even if there are alternatives available, places which would accept the dogs.

I wonder if one of the things he's not-saying is that there are not any plans to recommend or commit resources to re-homing sled dogs? My guess, based on this, is that the findings of the panel will be very narrow, and essentially change nothing.


OMG @Dr. Lane. Are you kidding me? Wow, so let's review shall we? Just so I'm clear. We have taken domesticated dogs, and forced them into an exploitive situation, thereby now rendering them "working" animals. Based on this new status, resulting from forced slavery, which is what it is, you're now saying they have lost their status of "pet", and are not deserving of kinder considerations. Have I understood what you've said so far? And you are not only a veterinarian and past vice-president of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, but as well a currently elected official representing Kamloops-North Thompson in the B.C. legislature? I would have to say that I am shocked beyond belief. Who the hell put the fox in the hen house? Do you truly believe what you stated? If so, I think we not only need to repeal some of the laws in Canada, emphatically, but we need to clean house. You are a danger to animal welfare sir, and because of your position, you are even more dangerous than the man that killed these animals.

Laura L. Neal, DVM

Here's what I am appalled by: in over 20 comments so far, not one veterinarian (unless I missed something) has spoken up until now.

Christie said, "Your fellow veterinarians should turn their backs on you when you walk in the door."


Leaving aside the non-pet paradigms that we veterinarians must resign ourselves to understand if we are to do our jobs effectively, we do take an oath, and I believe that this veterinarian's philosophy is counter to "the relief of animal suffering" AND NOT "in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics." Maybe some of my colleagues think it's okay to play the good ol' boy game of circling the wagons. But I'm not old (though I AM old enough to know whereof I speak when it comes to my profession) and I'm not a boy: Terry Lane's comments are not representative of the veterinary medical community, and I sincerely hope he is no longer in clinical practice. It is bad enough he's allowed to speak for us.

Laura L. Neal, DVM

Washington, USA


More stupidity:


1. The California-based Animal League Defense Fund….urged people to write Iditarod race sponsors asking them to back out, said Lisa Franzetta, ADLF's director of communications.;

2. …”Debra Probert, executive director of the Vancouver Humane Society, which has called for a provincial ban on tour businesses.”;

3. “Mushers routinely abandon, shoot, bludgeon, or drown dogs when they become ill, don't run fast enough, or are simply unwanted," Michelle Sherrow of Lexington, Ky., wrote on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


I just wanted to take a moment to thank Pet Connection and in particular Christie for keeping this in the public eye.

As a Canadian and a dog lover I am horrified that this occurred at all, and doubly horrified that it occurred in my country - and is now being defended by the very people put in charge of preventing it in the future.

Several protests have been scheduled (April will be a BIG month) and I encourage ALL Canadians to take the time to find a demonstration near you and to attend. We need to let the powers that be know in no uncertain terms that we will NOT stand idly by while our government participates in the acceptance of animal abuse and neglect.

We are a very progressive country - and we are PROUD of it. It's time that our animal laws reflected this, not only in reference to sled dogs, but in reference to ALL animals.

The only way these changes will come about is public pressure. I urge you to contact your local, provincial and federal representatives and let them know that you care about these issues - and that your future votes will reflect these values.

Laura Sterner

How about we petition the good doctor? For those wanting to express outrage, here is one way to do it:



I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. It seems the more useful an animal is, the more we treat it as a commodity and not a living being. There is, obviously, no fundamental difference between a husky sled dog and a husky that sits around the house. I'd even argue that an animals that's earned his master money for years is deserving of an even better retirement than our household pets. Animals deserve respect. However, I will point out that this includes livestock, which you mention in passing in your article. Why is it that we can treat cattle like "cattle" either?

Gina Spadafori

I tell you: This is the ONE and only ONE good thing that came out of the Michael Vick situation (and Sick Vick gets NO CREDIT for it):

We now know that ALL dogs deserve to be considered as individuals, and that NO dog is "automatically" ineligible for rehoming because of breed, history or occupation.

Any "humane society" or "SPCA" that says otherwise should turn over their leadership to people who know better ... and any veterinarian who thinks mass "killing" is "euthanasia" that needs to be defended and encouraged needs to be in another line of work.

Laura Sterner

Exactly, Gina.

Gina Spadafori

Why is it that we can treat cattle like “cattle” either?

Comment by Gemma — February 19, 2011

Gemma, an increasing number of us don't accept that, either. Many people are ethical vegans, and others of us (like me) do not support industrial agriculture, and buy meat from regional, sustainable farms (often small and owned by a family) that practice humane husbandry.

Personally, I don't eat much meat, but I do share my life with carnivores, and they do. So I make my purchases accordingly.

How big a movement this is can be seen pretty clearly in the recent changes at Whole Foods and how much money they're spending to tell you about them. While most people don't shop at Whole Foods and humane, sustainable animal husbandry is still but a small part of the overall, it's clearly a movement that is gaining ground. (And by the way: Many animal rights folks HATE these changes because pure AR ideology dictates that no animals be "exploited" -- not even as "pets." They believe that such "happy meat" gives people an excuse to keep eating it without feeling guilty and undermines efforts to turn us all vegan. I consider it unethical and unhealthy for my dogs and cats to not eat as they are supposed to, so I will continue to source their food -- and mine -- from sustainable, humane and small regional sources.)

Sheila Osborne

This kind of attitude toward dogs is just assinine. Have we as a society not learned anything form past mass killings? Look at the Michael Vick dogs--and I mean REALLY look into that story. Those dogs were immediately deemed vicious and unplaceable, because of their breed and previos living conditions. But if more people would bother to follow those stories to the end, they'd know that ALL but 2 of Vick's dogs were saved. Alot of them are still in sanctuaries because of the court rulings, But the majority of all the dogs are now living healthy, happy lives with new families and several have become therapy and/or service dogs. All the dogs at Dogtown have passed Canine Good Citizen (required there) and are doing fabulous. If more people would seriosly take a look at Cesar Milan's way of "teaching", maybe more dogs could be saved and live out their lives in the comfort of a warm and loving family. I, personally, use his methods and I have 2 very well behaved pits and an Akita. I don't care if a dog is a working dog or not--they are still entitled to live out their complete lives safely, humanely and happy. Start looking into the dogs, their behavior, temperment, etc and try wortking wioth the ones that may be a bit difficult before tossing them aside like uesterday trash. If you don't want the responsibility for the entire life of the dog, DON'T OWN ONE--for any reason!!

Gina Spadafori

Another admin note:

Comments that blame the Canadian government or all Canadians will also NOT be tolerated.

I assure you Canadians are as outraged as others are.


Thanks for the petition, Laura. Signed it and posted it at NKN.


I'm simply outraged a VET would say such things! No animal is different from the rest - all animals deserve humane treatment. This bozo needs to be removed from the task force as his thinking is tainted!

Alan Alford

As one who usually admires things Canadian I'm upset and embarrassed at the cavalier way that people, whose titles would indicate that they care about animal lives,would so dismiss these poor dogs as not worthy of humane treatment. My daughter, who is a veterinary student in Canada, will be sickened to know how arrogant and stupid some Canadian officials can be. Dr. Lane should resign from anything having to do with animals.


It will be sad if all this horror puts an end to Dog Sledding facilities. I am not supporting any behaviors of the owners of these dogs, but I've seen working dogs; whether it be sledding dogs, herding dogs, scent dogs etc....they love the work they do, they get excited about it, they feed on the praise when they do well...if owners of sledding dogs (and all working dogs) were in it for this interaction and the rewarding relationship with the animals instead of the money this sort of thing wouldn't happen so often!!

Laura Sterner

Thanks, Karen. I've worked to refine it a bit more this afternoon. Let's let Dr. Lake know that this stance is not acceptable.


I had a conversation today with a friend of mine who with her husband, raced sled dogs for years. Her daughter has now taken over the dogs, but the mother still maintains a business catering to making boots and other racing equipment. Her daughter is now on the boards of several national sled dog organizations. Never once did Fawcett or his company make an effort to network with any of those organizations. Mushers, like all dog people, are a tight community, and they would have risen to the occasion to provide homes and jobs for these dogs. They were never approached, not even Sled Dog Central (http://www.sleddogcentral.com/about.htm) by Fawcett or anyone else.

Laura Sterner

Fawcett was on the board of directors of Mush with P.R.I.D.E. (http://www.mushwithpride.org/) and I'm sure he had plenty of connections within the mushing community. For whatever reason, he chose not to use them.

I have been in touch myself with several people in the sledding community who have told me in no uncertain terms that these dogs are not only adoptable but quite adaptable as pets. It's simply unconscionable to me that this myth that sled dogs are unsuitable pet material and therefore must be killed is being perpetrated by the head of this task force-- and that he is a veterinarian. Boggles the mind.

Julia Trops

This is disgusting. Public pressure can make a difference, especially world wide public pressure. BC depends on tourism as a major revenue source. Make your voice heard, no matter where you live.

There is a group on facebook who is taking a stand against Animal Cruelty, and this case specifically.


Please dont let the name fool you - it was the original group that started when the public found out about the executions. Facebook will not allow name changes, so we are stuck with that. We are not associated with any merchandise or fundraising initiatives, our focus is making a difference with empowerment, communication and action.

There is much information there, about what you specifically can do to express your outrage, and to demand change, regardless where you live.

See you on the board.


Terry Cumming

The correct name for the appointed head of the BC task force is Dr. Terry LAKE (not Lane). The man sounds positively thrilled of having put down "hundreds of animals" in an "acceptable and humane way" and is of the professional opinion that bullets, knives (choose your weapon) are much more fitting ways to dispatch dogs who have been used as beasts of burden in service of the vanity of mankind.

There is a Dr. David LANE who apparently serves the Whistler sled dog tour businesses, who appears to have been as blind to sled dog cruelty and neglect as has the disgusting BC SPCA. Dr. Lane was quoted in a 2009 Whistler Question article after a California tourist who was shocked about the condition and demeanour of the dogs who pulled her on a dog sled ride.

Stemming from this lady's complaint, the BC SPCA identified two companies as being under suspicion with regard to dog neglect, Bob Fawcett's company was one of them.


The Whistler Question took a lot of flak from the rabid sled dog lobbyists - Editorial: Newspaper has a responsibility to seek the truth'


Letter to Whistler Question 'On the dogs' behalf, thanks' (April 8, 2009)



Lake, the vet's name is Terry Lake.

Somebody wanna fix his Wikipedia entry? ;-)


Christie Keith

Thanks to everyone who caught my typo on his name! I had it both right AND wrong in the same post, a sign of how distraught I was when I wrote this!

Peter J. Wolf

Unfortunately, the veterinary community (let's hope it's largely the old guard) regularly produces such "steaming piles of crap." Consider, for example, the "report" published last last year by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in which the authors misread, misinterpret, and/or misrepresent nearly every bit of research they reference (some of which isn’t valid research to begin with)--all in an effort to rationalize lethal methods for controlling feral cats ("Proper euthanasia involves a gunshot to the head, chemical injection, or carbon dioxide asphyxiation.")

Among the responses in a Veterinary Information Network post (http://news.vin.com/VINNews.aspx?articleId=17319):

“A very good article overall, though I do agree with the criticism of traps/gassing/shooting,” wrote Dr. Brian Novak of Trappe, Pa., in the VIN discussion. “However, if we are viewing feral cats as 'pests' (a term used repeatedly in the article), shooting and trapping are used and accepted for every other pest — rats, starlings, deer, nutria, monk parakeets, etc.”

Please don't get me wrong--I'm not suggesting that all, or even the majority of veterinary professionals hold such attitudes. But we can't simply assume they are automatically "on our side" when it comes to a whole range of animals welfare/rights issues.


I cannot believe this is the attitude of professionals brought in to examine what happened. This is a vet?! How can it be ok to dispose of a life, a life of an innocent animal. Can you imagine this being the case in our lives...no more layoffs, kill them, no need for money for old age care homes, kill them, you call in sick or have a bad day at work, kill them. Unbelievable!!! This is not ok Mr Lake and will not be accepted by the people of BC or Canada.


Laura it boggles the mind and breaks one's heart! The sled dog community knew about this travesty before the rest of us did, but still too late to save the dogs! Alas, they may not have been aware of dog related Internet communities on the scale that they now are. It only publicly came to light when Fawcett filed a claim for PTSD compensation. Now that the Interwebs have taken hold of it, I do hope the reverbs are heard and felt throughout both Cda and the USA and that a lesson is beaten home again about how powerful the Web is, and that despicable acts of cruelty can't be hidden anymore.

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