Seven-and-a-half months after news broke that the company Outdoor Adventures Whistler had ordered the slaughter of between 50 and 100 sled dogs for business purposes, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has finished its investigation into the incident.
CBC News Canada reports that the SPCA's investigation into the sled-dog massacre was the most expensive in its history, at about $250,000. Investigators who had worked on mass graves of humans in places like Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq were hired to excavate a mass grave of dogs near Whistler.
The end result of that investigation was delivered to B.C. prosecutors with the recommendation that they charge Bob Fawcett, the man who carried out the killings, with causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.
Marcie Moriarty, head of cruelty investigations at the B.C. SPCA, said her organization is recommending that Crown lawyers charge Fawcett with causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.
"Under the criminal code, the maximum penalty this individual could receive is five years in jail," Moriarty said.
"In addition, [he] can receive a lifetime ban on owning animals and a significant fine."
The case originally came to light after Fawcett applied for workers' compensation for emotional stress suffered after killing the dogs.
Descriptions from the slaughter were difficult to comprehend. Two days' worth of killing were recounted by Fawcett, who described shooting dogs one at a time, often only wounding them while the rest of the pack watched in maddening horror.
Vancouver Sun writer Kim Pemberton described one of the killings as such:
Susie's death didn't come quickly among the 100 sled dogs slaughtered after they had outlived their usefulness to Outdoor Adventures, which had used them as sled dogs to entertain the Olympic visitors in Whistler. The general manager who had been ordered to do the killings had shot out Susie's left side of her cheekbone but she didn't die. Instead, with her eyeball hanging out of its socket she tried vainly to escape after the man made the mistake of letting go of the leash and she was able to run off. The unidentified employee then had to track the Husky down using a scope on his firearm to end this poor animal's life.
In the aftermath of the story breaking, Outdoor Adventures tried to pin the blame on Fawcett, saying it had ordered him to euthanize the dogs in a "legal and humane" manner.
The reason the dogs were killed was that the company's business, which took people on sled-dog tours, had dropped off after the 2010 Winter Olympics failed to bring in steady customers.
How the SPCA determined that the company deserves no legal blame in the massacre is beyond us.