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Sled dog protestors court date adjourned

All accused are due to appear in the Canmore provincial court house again on March 18.
sled dogs arrest
Protestors stand outside the Canmore RCMP station on Saturday (Nov. 16) waiting for members to be released. Jordan Small RMO Photo

The Liberation Lockdown activists who protested the treatment of sled dogs made their second appearance in the Canmore provincial courthouse Wednesday (Feb. 26) morning.

Facing charges of break and enter to commit mischief, 14 of the accused secured a defence lawyer adjourning their next court date to March 18. A youth also allegedly involved in the incident secured a different lawyer and had their court date also adjourned to the same date.

The activists were originally charged after Canmore RCMP were called to the Mad Dogs & Englishmen sled dog kennels around 8:20 a.m. last November where approximately 30 people broke into the kennels protesting the "exploitation" and "living conditions" of the sled dog industry.

The organizer at the time said the activist were "non-violent" and wanted the protests to "pressure the government to pass laws to protect animals."

“So [Liberation Lockdown] was an occupation to gain attention to the plight of sled dogs and the industry and show how they actually live, tethered to these chains for the vast majority of their lives when they’re not pulling sleds and to show the conditions by social media and call into question our government officials and the mainstream media as well and negotiate possibly rescuing some of these dogs in distress,” Max Mah, Direct Action Everywhere Edmonton organizer said to the Outlook at the time.

Local sled dog company owners also spoke out acknowledging that sled dog welfare is an ongoing issue but condemned those who resorted to criminal behaviour.

“Although our kennel was not involved in this protest, we are thankful to know that our local RCMP are prompt and respond to this situation seriously by arresting those who committed criminal offences,” Carlin Kimble, owner of Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours wrote in an email to the Outlook.

“Sled dog welfare has been an ongoing issue across Canada for decades. There is currently no government-sanctioned organization that regulates the sled dog sport. We need sled dog welfare to be mandatory – not optional.”

Kirstene Reyes, Marisa Pothier, Vicki Hum, Nicole Bongat, Alysha Shipley, Tianna Van Ham, North–Marie Hunter, Brittany Tizzard, Zoe Bossy-Wolfe, Shawn Hofer, Leah Volk, Francis Metivier, Jay Hovila and Cambria Snell are among those facing charges.

One youth was also charged but cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

All accused are due to appear in the Canmore provincial courthouse again on March 18.

Jenna Dulewich

About the Author: Jenna Dulewich

Jenna Dulewich is a national and provincial award-winning multi-media journalist. Joining the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2019, she covers Stoney Nakoda, MD of Bighorn, Canmore and court.
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