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« Top 5 + 1 for January 2011 | Main | And right on queue.... »

February 03, 2011


Roberta Beach

Similarly, the industry around horse racing, both on the flat, steeplechase and trotting, needs to step up as well. For years, the Triple Crown has been my Super Bowl. Whether anyone won the whole enchilada was not so important to me but it was watching the horses. And yet, in discussions about Secretariat and others, we are seeing more inbreeding to get faster horses in the short term with less concern for the horses themselves than 20 years ago. A Kentucky Derby winner was shipped to Japan for slaughter. Yes, we as a society need to step up and deal with what we expect of animals who make us money, fame or just give us good vibes. God entrusted them to us and we have failed miserably.


Roberta, I agree and I think Horse Racing is a perfect example...


Ferdinand is the (1986) Kentucky Derby winner you are referencing. And he was actually sent to Japan to be a stud, it was nine years later that he was slaughtered (he wouldn't have had to be sent to Japan just to be slaughtered, it happens everywhere).

Ferdinand's fate, although shared by many less successful race horses, has really brought attention to the problem and there are several groups that have started up to deal with the heavy influx of retiring race horses. Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is probably the best known, but there are others. There is one called Friends of Ferdinand although I believe they operate only in Indiana. There is still a long way to go with respect to these horses, just as we have a long way to go with dogs as well.


This story about the guy that shot the sled dogs is just crazy.

First, he commits a crime - animal cruelty (and by the way, where did he get a gun in Canada? Isn't that a crime up there? Can't the RCMP at least charge him with firearms violations?). Then he files a civil claim with a provincial workmen's comp fund of sorts, claiming to be traumatized. And they PAY HIM? How did he collect on this claim when he must have broken several laws?

Does round bacon make you crazy?

Wow, talk about the classic example of killing your parents and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court because you're an orphan!

Now, let's discuss that less than stellar business plan. The olympics are in February. The dog sled/tourist business drops off following the olympics. The snow probably melted in April, and he killed the dogs at the end of April. I think I'll open a water park here in the Midwest at the end of August, whine about no business in September, and bulldoze it on Halloween because - surprise- IT'S COLD and I don't have customers! Then I'll file a claim with my insurance company because the business is damaged.

The story reminds me of medicare fraud in this country. It sounds as though someone knows how to work the system. I'll be interested to see if they find dog bodies when the spring thaw hits.

My outrage lies with a system that rewards criminal behavior.

cheryl loyd

There are so many people that have seen this story on facebook! We are all dismayed to learn why this was done and the manner in which it was done! Had the owner bothered to ask for help then this would NOT be story of such disgust! If he has asked for help many people would have stepped up to help from the United States!Please post this so this never happens again!!!!THERE are animal rescue groups all over the world! But us in the United States would have stepped up and I am sure in your country as well!

Chris Harris

I'm not sure the all facts in this article are correct. I am glad these issues are being raised and questions are being asked.

Did the tour operator follow the law? Should the law be changed? Is shooting dogs and cats legal, or just against some veterinary associations position statements? Should it be made a criminal offence because it's cruel? Should the SPCAs in Canada receive government funding & public oversight, or continue to operate on donations? Should people be allowed to keep dogs if they're not going to socialize them & keep them chained up their entire lives?
What responsibility do vets have regarding animal welfare?

FYI, guns aren't banned here in Canada, just certain types. And bacon is the same. The round "bacon" you think is Canadian bacon is usually called peameal bacon or peameal ham (it's coated in peameal or cornmeal).

Claudine Sleik

Its really too bad you didn't take the time to check your facts before writing your blog.The BCSPCA did not have contact with OAW until AFTER THE DOGS HAD BEEN KILLED!!! The dogs who we slaughtered were NOT THE SAME DOGS THEY WERE ASKED TO HELP. They had their first meeting with the company on May 28th, more than a month AFTER the 100 dogs were killed. They were asked to assist with some of the companies dogs in July...FOUR months AFTER the dogs were killed. At that time their shelters were full, so they couldn't take any dogs, but continued an open dialogue with the company. In September they were able to take 40-60 dogs, and made arrangements to do so, but the company decided the night prior to the scheduled pick up that they didn't need the help. Again...theses were NOT THE SAME DOGS!
Our Premier has established a special task force to investigate very aspect of this sad case. Including the time line of events, and what role individuals had/or didn't have in the slaughter. They re mandated to have their findings ready to present to the legislature in 45 days.
OAW has hired a very savy PR firm,and seems to be doing their best to shift blame onto others, when they are the only ones to blame for the death of those beautiful dogs.

Robert Garnett

As long we think it is acceptable to raise our food the way we do(as violent more violent then the killing of 100 dogs) then it will be hard to get any changes to protect any animals period.To produce our food the way we do and call ourselves "civilized" is hypocrisy at it's worst.To suggest that the Chinese are uncivilized because they eat dogs and cats and suggest that we are civilized because we eat pigs and cows,I Just don't understand.

Dianne in DC

What's really sad is a very similar situation was handled in November IIRC 2009 by the SPCA and Humane Society International. Over 100 dogs were taken from a sled dog operation outside Montreal and transferred to many rescues. The dogs had been chained and living in the woods with tiny boxes for protection. WARL took 11 of them, Lucky Dog also took a handful, including some pregnant females. Last I heard all had been adopted. A few went to a sled dog operation in up state Pennsylvania, but my understanding is they are treated as family pets.



There certainly is a cultural difference between the US and China....and yeah, I think it does probably make a difference on animal type; afterall, we share our homes with dogs and cats....but certainly not with pigs or chickens. That said, I certainly think how we care for these animals could greatly improve across the board.

Claudine -- certainly there are a lot of contradictory reports of the timing of everything and for outsiders it's hard to figure which version is "correct" as all parties seem to be trying to cover their tracks a little on this awful mess.


I agree with everything you wrote, except I'd question how the working dogs are treated when they're not working. If they're chained up out in the freezing cold, NOT good. In fact, I highly doubt a company that would order the dogs executed when they're done with them would bother to treat them decently while they're alive.

But, yeah, working dogs of the Dogs With Jobs variety always seem really happy.


I wish people would focus their attention on Bob Fawcett and Outdoor Adventures and stop blaming BC SPCA. BC SPCA did NOTHING wrong. They weren’t contacted before the dogs were killed, and there is NO evidence that any dogs were killed because of what they did or didn’t do. Fawcett and Outdoor Adventures didn’t contact them until after Fawcett applied for worker’s comp and they thought they story might get out. Then they started doing damage control by contacting BC SPCA.

Blaming BC SPCA is merely a smokescreen to divert attention from the true perpetrators. Here is a statement from BC SPCA that refutes all the accusations against it.
Update from BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell on Whistler Sled Dog Case
February 2, 2011

On behalf of the BC SPCA, I would like to make it clear to our supporters and to the public that the suggestion in the Vancouver Sun story published today (Feb. 2) that the BC SPCA had prior knowledge about the slaughter of the 100 sled dogs in Whistler is 100 per cent false.

It is deeply distressing to our organization that anyone would imply we had knowledge of, or could have prevented, the devastating killings carried out by Outdoor Adventures Whistler on April 21 and 23, 2010.

Below is a timeline of the BC SPCA’s contact with the company:

May 28, 2010 – The BC SPCA met with the tour operator at the company’s request. The BC SPCA was contacted by an employee of the company to resolve some issues that had arisen as a result of infighting within the management of the company. At this meeting the BC SPCA outlined care guidelines required for the animals. No request for assistance in rehoming dogs was made at this meeting.

At this meeting the BC SPCA was unaware of the slaughter which took place on April 21 and 23 and only learned of the situation when the society received a copy of the WorkSafeBC report on Jan. 28, 2011.

July, 2010 – An employee of the company contacted the BC SPCA by email with concerns about the care of the dogs. An SPCA constable followed up with the owner of the company with regard to the complaint.

July, 2010 – The tour operator contacted the BC SPCA and other rescue organizations to indicate they may be looking to dispose of dogs to other groups in the future. The BC SPCA was dealing with an overwhelming number of animals in our shelters and was not able to help immediately but continued discussions.

September, 2010 – The BC SPCA was able to assist with rehoming at this time and arranges to take 40-60 dogs into SPCA care. The BC SPCA made arrangements to transport the dogs on Oct. 14, but on the evening of Oct. 13 the company contacted the SPCA to say they had managed to rehome the dogs elsewhere and would not need assistance.

January 28, 2011 – CKNW News contacted the BC SPCA with a copy of the WorkSafeBC report outlining the slaughter of 100 sled dogs. An animal cruelty investigation was immediately launched.
We are deeply disappointed in Vancouver Sun story. The BC SPCA contacted Ms. Pemberton before the story was published to ensure that she was aware of the timeline of events and reiterated that the BC SPCA had no prior knowledge of the inhumane slaughter of these animals.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify these facts with our supporters and all those who join us in the fight against animal cruelty. The BC SPCA investigation into this horrific incident continues and charges of animal cruelty are pending.

Craig Daniell
Chief Executive Officer


Agreed on horseracing - but 2 year old racing should be banned TODAY.

I agree that BC ASPCA does not bear the blame for the death of these animals - but they deserve some critisism. I also know that all parties are covering their ass right now so Craig's little press release should be taken with a grain of salt. Just as I take all the killer's declarations of pstd with a grain of salt - in fact that is just flat out BS.

I would love to see how different BCASPCA's response would have been to a breeder with a bunch of cute pomms and yorkies? I bet they would have loaded up the trucks and headed out immediately to help "rescue" them.


and of course part of the story, IRT bloggers, is that they believed every word published in the newspaper and never made any effort to contact the BCASPCA. (in Pet Connection, the shock headline: "shelter TWICE refused to help") The same thing happened with the "Oreo" case... lots of outrage over the fate of this poor dog but not one single blogger blasting the ASPCA ever described trying to contact that organization. And yet some of these are self-proclaimed "journalists".

I didn't see ASPCA as the villain in the Oreo case; I see no evidence that BCASPCA is the villain here. At least not yet, at least not till their defense is repudiated

Bloggers need to stop being so credulous and easily manipulated.


Emily, in fairness, many of the early articles were less clear about the timing of the contact (including the link I provided above) -- and even now, it is a little unclear as to whether the SPCA was contacted prior to the cull. And of course they say they weren't (who wouldn't deny it if they were?), and there's also a chance that the staffer that talked to them no longer works there. There are a lot of possibilities at this point...but saying the bloggers were "easily manipulated" when there were numerous media reports to the positive on that (and we know the media isn't always right) does tend to lead to some credibility to the story. I'll post more details as they become more clear (if they ever do become clear) -- working on a few things as we speak.

Donna Bear

It is amazing to me how many people who will take the word of a confessed dog murderer over that of the BC SPCA. The BC SPCA has a lot of issues to deal with and apparently does not have the time and the money to hire a public relations firm to protect their reputation from slanderers like Bob Fawcett, the OAW, and the Vancouver Sun and the National Post! Wake up people your are being used by big money!


Even the ASPCA's own defense gave me enough evidence to damn them...they issued lots of press releases so I'm not sure what more information would have made their actions OK to any but a small minority. I've had conversations with those that work for the ASPCA and still nothing that gives them a pass.

And again, even the BC's own words leave them open for criticism. And that criticism in NO WAY excuses the trigger happy asshole that shot them. I'm not sure why anyone thinks they're mutually exclusive.


The CEO of the BC SPCA wrote, "I wish people would focus their attention on Bob Fawcett and Outdoor Adventures and stop blaming BC SPCA. BC SPCA did NOTHING wrong. They weren’t contacted before the dogs were killed, and there is NO evidence that any dogs were killed because of what they did or didn’t do. Fawcett and Outdoor Adventures didn’t contact them until after Fawcett applied for worker’s comp and they thought they story might get out. Then they started doing damage control by contacting BC SPCA".

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mr. Danielle. So, BC SPCA's initial contact with Outdoor Adventures had nothing to do with the alleged dead dogs. How did CKNW get the report? Was it available under some sort of Canadian or Provicial law? Or did an insider send it to them? It sounds as though this company (Outdoor Adventures) has some serious internal problems.
Does the BC SPCA have any police powers? Or do they just assist with cruelty investigations?

Am I the only one that questions if there are even any dead dogs? This smells like some sort of workmen's comp scam - this could very well be fraud. I know one thing, I'd be out there with an excavator that would cut through the frozen ground, looking for dog bones.


The mass grave has been located, although the BC SPCA says they hope enough evidence already exists to press cruelty charges so that exhuming the bodies can be avoided. I wish this were just a case of fraud.

Fawcett was not just an employee of Whistler Dog Sledding Tours when he shot the dogs in April; he was general manager and part-owner of the company. OAW didn't take full possession of the company until May. So he filed his own worker's comp claim and the company's paperwork regarding the claim at the same time.

Even worse in my opinion, he was vice president of Mush with P.R.I.D.E., a group that advocates humane treatment of sled dogs. Fawcett betrayed everyone involved with P.R.I.D.E., but his dogs most of all.

He claimed on a support forum for PTSD that he has had to "deal with" (I assume he meant kill) over 1,000 dogs and puppies in the past 15 years. He killed a large number
of dogs in 2009 and sought counseling afterward from the same person who counseled him after the April shooting. I don't know what to make of this except to say nothing Fawcett experienced made him stop killing dogs--and to this day he considers himself a "victim" of his own violent actions.

Apparently Fawcett never tried to place the dogs with other mushers--astonishing considering his position with Mush with P.R.I.D.E. Yet OAW claims to have placed over 70 unwanted dogs with mushers since the slaughter!


Thanks, Jeanne for the update. In my opinion it IS fraud, in addition to animal cruelty. Assuming for the sake of argument your post is accurate Bob Fawcett clearly played the system to make some money. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Well, there's something else we have in common with Canada besides a common language and that really long border - unnecessary task forces! The provincial governor has formed a task force to look into the slaughter of the dogs? Why? Oh yea, when in doubt form a committeee.

Shouldn't the RCMP investigate this case? Isn't there a prosecutor (that's what we call them) that decides whether or not to file charges?

I think what the provincial governor and his knee-jerk task force need to take a look at is a workmen's comp system that would grant payment for something this ridiculous. The medical confidentiality angle is just plain stupid.


When the news first broke, I read that RCMP was investigating along with BC SPCA, but I haven't seen any updates on the RCMP part of the investigation. Also, at first Fawcett's claim was denied and then they reversed the decision. Think they got it right the first time.

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