Cruel Treatment of Sled Dogs in Chilean Mountains


After one month of investigations, OIPA (International Organization for Animal Protection) Chile filed an animal welfare complaint together with local association, Search Chillán Chile. The alleged mistreatment took place at the Hotel Nevados de Chillán, located in a cold mountainous area, where a number of dogs were used for dog sledding trips.

One of the dogs used for sledding activities, seen chained in the snow. Image credit OIPA Chile.

Condition checks have been carried out by Samuel Molina, OIPA Chile Vice Representative, because of his expertise in animal welfare. The checks revealed the appalling conditions in which the animals were kept.

First, most of the dogs are pointers, a short-haired hunting breed that is totally inappropriate for these kinds of activities and for the harsh climate and low temperatures of this area of the Chilean Andes mountains.

Secondly, the dogs were found tied to thick chains that stopped them from moving freely, and were in poor health. All of the dogs were underweight and didn’t have a place to rest or shelter from the cold and snow.

The hotel owners defended themselves against accusations of animal mistreatment, adding that an outside firm manages the dog sledding service.

Nevados de Chillán, the harsh region where the hotel and dogs are located. Image credit Francisco Javier Gutierrez Zuñiga, CC BY-SA 2.0.

In a recent interview, OIPA Vice-Representative Samuel Molina stated, “At first sight that the dogs are clearly mistreated. They lack the access to good nutrition, and risk freezing to death. The company responsible for the dog sledding service is using pointers, and this is against the law. Indeed, only huskies can be used as sled dogs.” Molina stressed that “Pointers are short-haired dogs, and they are not fit to live in low temperatures. They are usually used for hunting at lower altitudes.”

See the interview with Samuel Molina, in Spanish, here.

OIPA Chile will follow the legal proceedings, hoping to see justice served.

We thank OIPA Chile for having unearthed this bad case of animal mistreatment.

Featured image: a pointer, the breed being used for sledding activities, which cannot tolerate the harsh climate of the area. Image credit Rexness, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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