Chaining of sled dogs needs to end
Dear Editor:This letter concerns Krabloonik and the chaining of sled dogs.I have been a owner of Siberian huskies for over 21 years. I vacation in Colorado three weeks every year. Over the years, I have toured a number of sled-dog businesses. I never really questioned the practice of chaining sled dogs. That all changed with my tour of Krabloonik in July 2002. Aside from the issue of chaining, the living conditions at Krabloonik were terrible! In my July 24, 2002 certified letter to the City of Aspen that listed a number of problems, I described Krabloonik as “a concentration camp for dogs.” I won’t go into all the items I listed in my letter. However item number two seems very appropriate with the cold, bitter winter. I said: “Outside enclosures – Krabloonik does not use dog houses. Krabloonik uses ‘dog tables’. These consist of four legs, approximately one foot high, nailed to a flat top. There are no sides.” One wonders how many will survive the winter. The second issue is the practice of chaining sled dogs. In Colorado, the 1995 Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) gives the Colorado Department of Agriculture the responsibility to inspect, license and discipline all pet-care facilities. It sets standards (housing, nutrition, medical treatment, etc.). To learn about PACFA visit http://www.ag.state.co.us/animals/petc.html. Section 12, Part B, Para. C covers “dogs houses with chains”. The practice of chaining has been eliminated for dogs that are used for breeding. However that has not been the case for dogs used to pulling a sled. Para. C says that a waiver must be granted each year to continue the practice of chaining sled dogs. “The granting of this waiver is the sole discretion of the Commissioner.” If the waiver is not granted, then neither is the license to stay in business. If a Siberian husky is used for breeding, then chaining is not OK. If the same Siberian husky is used to pull a sled, chaining is OK. It just does not make good sense! There are many reasons for not chaining a dog – even a sled dog. The veterinary community has long decried the practice of chaining dogs. That is why the chaining of pets is not allowed in a number of cities including Denver. In 2004-5, 1,784 licenses were granted per the PACFA. It probably takes at least 100 dogs to make a sled dog business viable. If 10 percent of the licenses were for sled dog operations, that is 17,800 dogs! This needs to stop. I urge everybody to become familiar with PACFA and push to end the chaining of sled dogs. Larry EbnerOverland Park, Kan.
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