The B.C. SPCA is conducting an investigation into the death of 100 sled dogs by a tour company in Whistler, British Columbia. The tour company, "Outdoor Adventures Whistler", has admitted to killing 100 sled dogs in April of 2010.
A downturn in business after the 2010 Olympic Games is cited as the reason for the cull. CKNW Radio in Vancouver obtained Worksafe BC documents in which an employee had been compensated after developing post traumatic stress disorder for having to personally kill 70 dogs over a period of two days. In the CKNW report, the worker’s lawyer, Cory Steinberg, says the worker (who doesn’t want to be named) “ended up having to do it…I guess the only way to describe it was ‘near misses.’ It wasn’t always a clean, one-shot kill. Inevitably he ended up seeing and having to put the end to some horrific scenes.” In the document filed with Worksafe BC, the worker said that in most cases, dogs were shot or had their throats slashed. They were then thrown into a ‘mass grave’. The worker also stated that some dogs were still alive.
According to CKNW, the company didn’t dispute the Worksafe BC claim. They even made a correction; the worker killed 100, not 70, dogs during that two day period. Marcy Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the SPCA, found the document hard to read. “That description where he notes that one of the dogs he thought had been killed was crawling around in this mass grave.....honestly I had to put down the story then,” she told CKNW. In a report by ctvbc.ca, she said that it’s “horrific.” The Worksafe BC document told of a dog who had survived being shot in the face: “its eye was hanging off, and it was still running around,” she said. “The fact that he did this in front of all the other dogs tethered there, I can’t even imagine,” she added. Moriarty said she would have preferred a vet-supervised lethal injection as it would have been more humane. "It is technically legal to shoot an animal, as long as it dies instantly. That most certainly did not happen in this instance."
In a report by the Toronto Star, Moriarty said, “I know I’ve said in the past that I’ve seen horrific things involving animal cruelty, but reading this, this blew my mind.” Adding, “It was an absolute massacre. Some of the descriptions were, yeah, just horrifying.” A spokeswoman for Worksafe BC said that the case is a specific one and can only be released by the claimant, reported the Toronto Star. To complete its investigating, the SPCA will now have to dig up the mass grave. In another report by CKNW they say that Whistler RCMP have opened a file into the case. Staff Sergeant Steve Leclair says that the investigation is primarily a SPCA investigation, but that the RCMP is assisting. He added that charges of cruelty to animals or injuring or endangering animals could “eventually” be laid. “It's a matter of gathering all the facts and determining if there's enough evidence to prepare a report to Crown Counsel and if so to send that to Crown to see if it's meets their standard for charge approval," he said.
According to ctvbc.ca, the Vancouver Humane Society is now calling for a ban on sled-dog tours. Spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society said, “the details of how these dogs were killed are absolutely shocking. This is what happens when animals are exploited for profit and become surplus to requirements when business is bad,” reported ctvbc.ca. Outdoor Adventures has released a statement in response, said CKNW. Spokesman for the company, Graham Aldcroft, said that “the events are tragic and regrettable.” “While we were aware of the relocation and euthanization of dogs at "Howling Dog Tours" we were completely unaware of the details of the incident until we read them in the WCB document yesterday.” The cull took place under the operational control of “Howling Dogs”, led by the worker who filed the post traumatic stress disorder claim with Worksafe BC. “Outdoor Adventures” took control of “Howling Dogs” in May. Aldcroft insists that significant changes have been made to ensure humane treatment of dogs.
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