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Healthy sled dogs slaughtered in Whistler

WHISTLER, B.C.  – One hundred healthy sled dogs were slaughtered by an employee of a tourism operator in the Whistler-area. The SPCA said this is horrifying and calls the incident a massacre.

The dogs were apparently put down last April because Outdoor Adventures Whistler didn’t get the boost in business expected after the 2010 Olympics.

“We’ll have to be able to locate this ‘mass grave.’  In my opinion, what was done was absolutely criminal,” Marcie Moriarty with the SPCA told News1130. “And whether that extends to the person who ordered the worker to do this, maybe not legally, but I think morally.”

She added the worker who killed the dogs went to WorkSafe BC claiming post-traumatic stress.

“His comments describe how these animals were, with their heads blown off, half crawling.  They most certainly did not die instantly, at least some of them.”

Corey Steinberg with the Double Diamond Law Corporation is the lawyer for the man who killed the dogs.  He spoke with CityTV and tried to explain his client’s actions.

“He’s really an expert in dogs and… is an extremely caring person.  He loved these dogs like a person I’ve never seen and unfortunately, the only way to put it, he found himself backed into a corner.”

He adds the man did try to find homes for the dogs, and tried to find a veterinarian to euthanize the animals humanely, but was ultimately left to ‘do it on his own.’

Outdoor Adventures Whistler has issued a statement calling the killings “tragic and regrettable.”  It said it did not fully take over the firm Howling Dogs until after the animals were shot to death.  The incident has the Vancouver Humane Society calling for a ban on sled dog tour businesses.

The SPCA is demanding criminal charges be laid.

Rescue organization weighs in

News1130 spoke with a sled dog rescuer who says the whole situation is terrible.  Sally Swan runs Dog Power Adventures in Prince George.

She said Outdoor Adventures Whistler tried to give the dogs away, advertising for at least six months that the dogs were available for free to good homes.

Swan believes the sled dogging community could have helped out if the company had admitted how desperate it was. She said sled dogs need to be rehabilitated before they can be family pets. They are solitary animals used to running, and in a house they’re afraid of the floor, of stairs, and of people.