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Animal Welfare Act must be enforced regardless of breed, says P.E.I. Humane Society

Riley, a three-year-old husky, has a new doghouse after neighbours complained the pet was left outside in the cold for hours at a time. Riley’s owners say the breed is adapted to the cold, and he will never use the shelter they’re calling a $200 lawn ornament.
Riley, a three-year-old husky, has a new doghouse after neighbours complained the pet was left outside in the cold for hours at a time. Riley’s owners say the breed is adapted to the cold, and he will never use the shelter they’re calling a $200 lawn ornament. - Contributed

The P.E.I. Humane Society says it was right to order a Charlottetown couple to buy a doghouse for their three-year-old husky.

The organization has received several complaints about the dog not having outdoor shelter, said development co-ordinator Jennifer Harkness.

“It did come to a point where we did have to issue an order and then the owner did comply with that order, so we consider the case closed.”

But Courtney Porter and Matthew Goulding say their pet was never in any harm.

The couple keeps Riley tethered outside for parts of the day. They say he has separation anxiety and is much happier out in the cold than cooped up in the house.

Porter, who is a student at the Atlantic Veterinary College, says the husky never used the shed they cleaned out for him last winter and won’t use the new doghouse either.

“He absolutely hated it back there. He never went in the shed. This winter we decided, well, he’s happier and barks less when we put him closer to the road.”

The couple is calling the new doghouse a $200 lawn ornament.

“He won’t step foot in there. And he never will.”

But Harkness said the Animal Welfare Act must be enforced, regardless of the breed of dog.

“It’s not just about, ‘Is the animal cold?’ or ‘this breed likes the cold.’ What if another animal came into the yard, perhaps a dog that was at large that was aggressive? This dog that’s tethered can’t get away, but if he has shelter, he could escape into that shelter.”

That wouldn’t happen, said Porter, a veterinary student.

“He would rather face any of that, any day, than be in a claustrophobic space.”

In the case of future complaints, the humane society might do a quick check to make sure the dog isn’t in distress, Harkness said.

“But if they’re in compliance with the animal welfare act, then we would tell any (complainants that) we have investigated and we don’t see any violation.”


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