After years of silence, a ‘position statement’ from Humane Society Yukon on the Yukon Quest and Yukon dog mushers… HSY is a big fan!

HSY ‘Dog Care Standards’ Position Statement


At Humane Society Yukon, we firmly believe that the same standards should apply to the care of ALL dogs. These standards include adequate food and shelter, minimal tethering, lifelong commitment by animal owners, and safe, secure transportation when dogs must ride in motor vehicles.


All animals are entitled to a minimum of basic care. There is no difference between the needs of a pet dog and those of a working dog.


All dogs require adequate shelter that provides protection from excessive heat, cold, wind, rain, snow and other adverse weather conditions. For dogs that live predominantly indoors, this shelter may be the house of the person they live with. For outdoor dogs, an adequately sized, insulated and clean dog kennel is required.

No dog should be kept on a tether except on a short term basis (i.e. a few hours at a time). Long-term tethering of dogs restricts freedom of movement, and can result in physical health problems as well as behavioural problems such as aggression. Instead of tethering, dogs should be provided with secure yards or pens in which they can run, play, interact with other animals, and defecate away from their living and eating areas.

Dog owners have a lifelong commitment to provide care for the animals that live with them. Dogs should be provided with veterinary care as needed, quality food on a daily basis, fresh water at all times, and regular attention so that health problems are identified early. Dogs should not be disposed of when they are no longer considered useful, regardless of whether they are considered to be pets or working animals.

When dogs must be transported in a vehicle, they should be inside a secure part of the vehicle, such as the inside of a car, the cab of a truck, or a carrying kennel which is anchored to the back of a pick-up truck. Under no circumstances should dogs be transported loose in the back of a pick-up truck.

An effective spay and neuter program should include:

A public education component which discourages breeding and describes the benefits of spay/neutering;

HUMANE SOCIETY YUKON BLOG POSTING, Thursday, February 25, 2010

Musher Donations

The Yukon Quest ended this month with Hans Gatt as the winner, arriving with some very healthy looking dogs who were ready to keep going. A musher started an initiative to raise money for the shelter and we were presented with a cheque for $1,000 this week. So, thanks (in no particular order) to Hans Gatt, Gerry Willomitzer, William Kleedehn, Michelle Phillips, Simi Morrison, Maren Bradley, Jeff Luehmann, Ryan Kinna, Darren and Leanne Kinvig, Kenny Tetlichi, Sky High Wilderness, Uncommon Journeys and Didier Moggia.

As you may have heard or seen on CBC Yukon on Wednesday, we are in need of money to help us cope with the influx of puppies and dogs in the shelter. Thanks to everyone listed above for the much needed donation.

Posted by Humane Society Yukon at 1:59 PM

Labels: donation yukon quest



Mushers running the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race should have to sign a declaration that they do not cull unwanted dogs and puppies, long-time competitor Frank Turner says. Although there have been huge improvements in sled-dog care over the past several decades, Turner says the issue of culling still needs to come out of the shadows. “Competitive kennels, or even kennels that may not be competitive but aspire to be, often breed more dogs than they’re actually going to be able to keep, afford to keep and pay for the vet bills, the food and all the other associated costs,” Turner told CBC News in a recent pre-race interview.

“If you added up the numbers, there’s no way all those other puppies or young dogs are going to be sold or given away to homes. We’re just breeding too many dogs.” The Yukon Quest should admit that culling is part of the competitive racing world and take measures to discourage it, he said. “I mean one of the things that the Quest could do on the entry form is do a declaration – to participate in the Quest you declare that you do not practice culling of dogs,” he said.

The race does not have a policy on culling. Quest race marshal Mike McCowan would not say whether culling is a common practice when asked about it Thursday. “It’s not our business,” McCowan said. “I mean it’s like going up to somebody and saying, ‘How do you make your bed in your own house?’ That’s not our business.”

I had attempted to post a comment on the HSY blog about this ‘generous donation’. Apparently the HSY does not appreciate receiving flak about the optics of their accepting dirty money from people (a “Who’s Who” of dog exploiters) who so blatantly spit in the face of the HSY position statement on acceptable dog care. The dog mushers should have raised funds for one of the dog tour businesses who donated. A representative of the company can be heard most Saturday mornings on CKRW ‘Trader Time’ begging for freezer damaged meat for their dogs (CKRW also helps arrange hook-ups for Yukon back yard breeders on the show – selling firewood, however is not allowed).

Never have I heard of, or read of a spokesperson for HSY commenting after the numerous times dogs have been hurt or killed in the Yukon Quest. Nor am I aware of Yukon media ever calling HSY for comments when dogs are hurt or killed. The HSY often has representation on its board by people sympathetic to the Yukon Quest and dog mushing (and representation by dog breeders as well). Some HSY members support both the society and the Yukon Quest and do not see any conflict in doing so.

It has recently come to my attention that a new pamphlet produced by the Government of Yukon regarding the new animal protection act features prominently, several images favourably depicting Yukon dog mushing. These pamphlets are handed out at the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse. What input did HSY have in developing this pamphlet as HSY is supposedly a vital stakeholder/contributor to the legislation?

The Yukon Quest and Yukon Dog Mushers’ Association definitely made sure to protect their right to exploit dogs when the act was updated. At a public meeting in 2008 regarding the animal protection act, one of the YTG representatives (a veterinarian) had the gall to show up wearing a Yukon Quest fleece vest. This person also said at the meeting that it was not illegal to shoot dogs in the Yukon. Is the HSY afraid of offending the Yukon Government which gives a paltry annual sum for funding the humane society? Paltry in comparison to the money and resources the Yukon Quest gets from YTG that is. And then Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl kicks in another quarter million dollars to help promote the race in aid of Yukon tourism.

It is shameful that a couple of Yukoners had to take it upon themselves to spend a considerable portion of their lives advocating for dogs used as sled dogs because the HSY has been silent about the dog mushing and dog racing cruelty that has been allowed to go on unopposed for many years. How does the HSY expect irresponsible animal owners from changing their ways when the HSY instead builds bridges with MUSHERS who breed irresponsibly, keep dogs in inhumane conditions and who have NO lifelong commitment to the animals in their ‘care’?

 Humane Society Yukon needs to get out of bed with the animal exploiters.

 Terry Cumming