Windrift Adventures Issues Statement Regarding Ontario SPCA Investigation

For twenty-five years, Windrift Adventures has been dedicated to providing the sled dogs in our care with the love, support and compassion necessary to ensure their health and well being.

Recently, we were visited by Natasha Guerriero and Dylan Blake who recorded video of one of our sled dogs, Koi, who had sustained a minor injury to his leg. Koi was and continues to be under our care and his injury has been properly cleaned and is being attended to by our veterinarian. At no time has Koi been in distress or mistreated.

It is noteworthy that during her visit to our facility, neither Ms. Guerriero or Mr. Blake inquired about Koi's injury or his health, and instead after enjoying a dog sledding experience uploaded footage to Facebook without any context or understanding of the dog's actual situation or the animal care practices in place at Windrift Adventures.

We note that Ms. Guerriero has participated in an advocacy effort led by an animal rights organization to enhance Ontario's animal welfare laws before dog sledding at our facility. Both Ms. Guerriero and Mr. Blake have since participated in a campaign led by another animal rights organizations that seek to have our animals removed from their home, in our care.

Windrift Adventures adheres to the highest standards of animal welfare and meets or exceeds all of Ontario's animal welfare legislation. Windrift Adventures also follows best practices for sled dog care that exceeds Ontario's existing requirements.

Windrift Adventures has fully cooperated with the Ontario SPCA's investigation and will continue to cooperate, but is deeply concerned by the pattern of behaviour the Ontario SPCA has shown here and in other investigations.

We believe the Ontario SPCA's ongoing media campaign against Windrift Adventures misrepresents the facts regarding animal care at our facility.

We note the Ontario SPCA is presently the defendant in a $21 million dollar lawsuit brought by another organization who faced the Ontario SPCA's blend of inspection and damaging media commentary.

We were alarmed by a February 2, 2018 fundraising email from the Ontario SPCA's Chief Inspector sent to the Ontario SPCA's email list with the subject line: An Important Update from Our Chief Inspector -- Sled Dogs Case.

The uncomfortable mix of fundraising and investigations has a long history in Ontario. In a 2005 ruling that dismissed charges laid against a horse owner, Justice A. Zuraw stated the following of the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA:

"It hires its own agents and inspectors, determines the parameters of their employment, and using aforementioned police powers, enters property, seizes animals as in this case (without warrant or judicial intervention) and lays charges – all the while attending to its own need to fund raise. In order to do the latter, it relies heavily on the publicity it can glean from high profile seizures and charges. Indeed, there is a communications branch tasked with this. It is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. Without publicity and high profile charges, the funds the S.P.C.A. needs to operate would no doubt dry up." [R. v. Pauliuk, 2005 ONCJ 119 (CanLII)]

We believe the same holds true for the Ontario SPCA as has been demonstrated in their handling of the Toronto Humane Society case and others. []

Windrift Adventures will continue to conform to the highest standards of animal care to ensure the welfare of the animals in our care and urge the Ontario SPCA to act to the highest degree of professional standards as well.