Charges to be recommended in Whistler sled dog massacre
Published Tuesday, August 16, 2011 3:43PM PDT
The BC SPCA will be recommending cruelty charges under the criminal code against the man who admitted to slaughtering dozens of sled dogs in Whistler following the 2010 Winter Olympics.
If the charges are approved, Robert Fawcett, former manager of dog sled firm Outdoor Adventures, faces five years in prison or a $10,000 fine for shooting the dogs execution-style or slitting their throats.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager for SPCA cruelty investigations, said the agency has finished its investigation into the cull and unearthed the remains of 52 dogs – or roughly half the number initially reported.
Moriarty said the discrepancy stems from Fawcett's original account of the slaughter.
"The number that was self-reported by [Fawcett] in his WorkSafe BC report was between 76 to 100, and that was the amount that was always out there," said Moriarty.
The exhuming of the dogs cost the SPCA $250,000 to conduct, with almost half the amount coming from a provincial grant. Work began in early May.
"We did a very comprehensive dig," said Moriarty. "The cost is due to the science and forensics involved as well as the scale and the scope."
News of the massacre made international headlines in early January after workers' compensation documents were leaked to the media.
In the documents, Fawcett outlined a claim of post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after killing the dogs.
Fawcett detailed how he shot or slit the throats of at least 70 dogs over the course of two days.
The documents also said Fawcett ran out of ammunition at one point and had to use a knife to kill an aggressive dog.
"By that point he wanted nothing more than to stop the ‘nightmare' but he continued because he had been given a job to finish," the documents said.
Fawcett said that he was ordered to carry out the cull as a result of a slow sledding season following the 2010 Olympic Games.
His post-traumatic stress disorder claim was accepted by WorkSafe BC earlier this year.
Following public pressure after the discovery of slaughter, the B.C. government appointed a task force who reviewed the local dogsled industry. Among their ten recommendations, were an increase in penalties for animal cruelty and an increase in funding for the BC SPCA.