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(NR) Search Engine Films - 82 min
  • DIRECTOR: Fern Levitt

SHOWTIMES 10/22/2017 (change date):

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This eye opening documentary offers an inside look at the dog sledding industry, from the tourist attractions to the annual Iditarod race. By weaving together various narratives we explore a truth about this industry while posing the question: “Is the ‘abuse’ committed against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?

Picture yourself flying along a frozen, winding trail surrounded by wild boreal forests with only the whisper of sled runners beneath you and a howling pack of dogs to break the solitude. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why year after year thousands of tourists flock to experience one of the most quintessentially Northern pastimes: dog sledding. This idyllic portrait has been promoted by both the tourism industry and the dog sledding world for decades in an attempt to maximize profits while concealing a sometimes gruesome reality.

Dogs in many commercial dog sled companies are continually tethered to a chain and euthanized when they’re deemed no longer useful. In 2011, the public finally learned the truth after an incident in Whistler, B.C. made international headlines: One hundred dogs were brutally murdered and thrown into a mass grave by a tourism company after an unprofitable season. Sled dog companies along with the B.C. government decried the practice, claiming it to be an isolated occurrence; but animal rights activists maintain that this practice is pervasive throughout the entire industry. As seen in the film, the trial of Dan MacEachen in Colorado will once again bring the sled dog industry into the public eye. Dan, who was the owner of one of the largest dog sledding companies in North America, was charged with eight counts of animal cruelty.

If he was found guilty, the case would spark a much-needed debate about animal rights laws in North America. This is not the first time concerns were raised against MacEachen. In 1988, he was charged with animal cruelty, but the charge was dropped and Dan continued to run his sledding operations until 2013.

“The Last Great Race”, Alaska’s Iditarod, is one of the largest financial pillars in the northern community and is a tradition well loved by mushers and spectators alike. Thousands of tourists flock each year to watch as teams of sled dogs run over a thousand miles across Mother Nature’s harshest landscape.

Some of the Iditarod supporters claim that sled dogs are “canine athletes” and love the challenge of the sport. They claim that sled dogs are born and bred to race and are “different” from other dogs. Animal rights critics along with some former mushers fervently disagree and claim that these statements are used to justify animal abuse and keep a misinformed public in the dark. SLED DOGS is the first documentary to explore both sides of the dog sledding industry. This film weaves together various characters and narratives to explore a truth about the dog sledding industry while posing the question: “Is the abuse seen against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?


*** Q&A Schedule ***

Friday, Saturday & Sunday July 28,29,30 at the 7:00PM & 9:00PM Screenings - Director Fern Levitt and Producer Arnie Zipurky

Tuesday Aug 1 at the 7:00PM & 9:00PM Screenings - PETA Campaigner John Di Leonardo

Wednesday & Thursday Aug 2 & 3 Skype Q&As w/ Director Fern Levitt



Overall Rating Based on 3 Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars
Tell us what you think about this movie.
Current Reviews
5 out of 5 stars

US screenings

August 10, 2017
Please go to WATCH for listings throughout the US commencing August 29, 2017. Don't judge this film based on the trailer or social media postings See the film for yourselves and please spread the word!

Eric C
4 out of 5 stars

Eye Opening Movie

August 6, 2017
Before I saw this movie, I assume I was like most people - believing that dog sledders cared about their pets/animals. But I quickly learned that was not the case. This movie lifts the veil behind their dirty little secret and I'm sure no one that sees it will ever go dog sledding again.

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Name Withheld
3 out of 5 stars

Almost impossible to find a showing in the US

July 29, 2017
Hard to rate this movie currently because it is next to impossible to see in the US, therefore the star rating here has been given as average since this review application will not allow a submission without an associated rating. The film is a Canadian production and has appeared on Canadian CATV but not as of yet on any US documentary channels. It is an important subject, as is any allegation of mistreatment of animals by a corporation or industry. To be fair, the mushing industry has reacted against this film and claimed it is biased and not a true representation of treatment by a typical musher. The Whistler BC incident was tragic and that story needs to be heard. Having an strong interest in the subject matter and seeing instances of both good and poor treatment of these animals over the years, I would like to have the opportunity to see this film to judge for myself. If a limited theatrical showing is difficult to pull off, why not make it avialable in other forms such as streaming or PPV if the Producers want to share their film with the general public? Is it possible to set this up directly for paid download from the PETA website as an option?