With apologies to all of you that do not live within the County of Athabasca, but time is of the essence in getting the word out on this!!
If you live within the County, I am pleading with you to contact your County Council BEFORE FRIDAY to ask them to vote down this proposed Dog Bylaw until one that can address the needs of all county residents can be drafted.
Or if you have come to the County in the past to visit our kennel and approved of what you saw, also feel free to contact the councilors and tell them so!
You can find their emails addresses and other contact information at http://www.athabascacounty.com/ (click on 'County Council').
Here is the letter I have sent to them -
My name is Karen Ramstead and I am a 12 year resident of the County of Athabasca. For those entire 12 years we have shared our home with in excess of 50 purebred Siberian Husky sled dogs.
I am currently up in Alaska with 24 of my dogs preparing for my 9th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race but was recently made aware of a Dog Bylaw that the County is proposing. I have read through the Bylaw and have numerous concerns about the need for the Bylaw, the research and consultation that has gone into the proposal, and the consideration given myself and others that have been responsibility operating kennels in the County for years.
As the Bylaw stands I see that no consideration has been given to sled dog kennels, of which there at least 2 currently operating within the County. Most sled dogs are kept on stake out chains and housed under guidelines set forth by MUSH with PRIDE (www.mushwithpride.org), an international organization that sets standards and guidelines for responsibly housing for and caring for sled dogs. Many of the conditions proposed in the County Bylaw are in conflict with these researched and well thought out internationally accepted guidelines.
Our kennel has been recognized on a international level for it's dog care. Yearly we welcome visitors from all over North America and around the world that are interested in our dogs, our kennel situation and our dog care. To have a Bylaw officer with likely little experience with sled dogs now passing judgment and able to insist on changes to our set up seems rather ridiculous.
In addition, the requirement for kennels being a certain distance from property lines would require us to spend thousands of dollars and countless work re situating our dogs, even though we are surrounded by 'green land' on all sides that the dogs are close to.
I urge all to vote against this proposed Bylaw. If there are concerns on dog ownership in the County, by all means we need to address them, but lets to it in a responsible and well thought out way that addresses the needs of all of us that call Athabasca home.
If anyone would like to discuss this with me further, I can be reached in Alaska at 907 351 6197 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing I find it rather ironic that in my last blog (www.northwapiti.blogspot.com) before leaving for Alaska I wrote fondly about the friendliness of my community and how lucky I was to call it home - and at the very same time our County Councilors were basically stabbing me in the back by quietly pushing through this ridiculous and over controlling Bylaw.