Outdoor Adventures at Whistler Inc.

December 14, 2011 13:00 ET

Whistler Sled Dog Company Donated to Not-For-Profit Foundation

The Sled Dog Foundation Dedicated to Improving Animal Welfare

Independent Board of Directors to Provide Oversight

WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2011) - The sled dog operation formerly owned by Outdoor Adventures at Whistler Ltd. (OAW) in Whistler, British Columbia, has been gifted to the ownership of a newly created not-for-profit foundation. "The Sled Dog Foundation" will now own and manage all operations with proceeds going toward the improvement of animal welfare of sled dogs.

Joey Houssian, owner of OAW, has donated all assets of the sled dog business including land leases, the dogs, kennels, and equipment to the Foundation. OAW will continue to lend support and expertise to the new Foundation as it establishes the operation.

"The allegations about how the sled dogs were treated came as a great shock to me and my staff," said Houssian. "Since then, and after significant research and consultation with animal welfare experts, academics and others, my team concluded that we would try to influence positive change for the industry and for the welfare of sled dogs. We believe the creation of this Foundation is the best way to achieve this."

OAW Vice President Kirby Brown says sled dog tours are very popular in Whistler and he expects the Foundation will generate significant funds to support programs and animal welfare efforts.

"This gift gives us a great start, and the enduring revenue generated by the sled dog operating company creates the opportunity to establish world-leading practices and to provide educational opportunities at a grass roots level on a national scale," says Foundation Director, Stephanie McDonald. Stephanie McDonald is CEO of the Board of the Edmonton Humane Society, one of Canada's leading animal shelters.

Additional Board members include Sue Eckersley, a Whistler business leader who also serves on the Board of Directors of Whistler Animals Galore, the local animal shelter and Whistler veterinarian Dr. David Lane, owner of Coast Mountain Veterinary Hospital who has worked with sled dog operations in Whistler for the past 19 years.

"This is a unique opportunity to improve animal welfare in a real-world situation," said Sue Eckersley, who will serve as the Sled Dog Foundation spokesperson. "The sled dog business will provide a committed source of ongoing funding for various animal welfare programs and will be the basis for research on sled dog behaviour and care. Everything the Foundation learns from its work will be made available to sled dog operators around the world to improve their operations for the benefit of their animals."

Since assuming operational control of the dog sled business, OAW has instituted significant changes in consultation with leading animal behaviorist, Dr. Rebecca Ledger, who will continue in an advisory capacity to the Foundation.

Contact Information

  • Outdoor Adventures at Whistler Inc.
    Nancy McHarg
    604 760 4366