It recently came to light that, 100 sled dogs were “culled” from a large pack of dogs owned by a dog sledding company for tourists in Whistler, B.C. last Spring. They were not euthanized—they were slaughtered in front of other dogs waiting their turn to be killed. The account of the killing is pretty horrific. They were shot and some had their throats slit. The only reason this came out was due to a workman’s comp claim filed from by the man, Bob Fawcett, who killed the dogs. His claim was due to PTSD from shooting the dogs.
There have been a ton of conflicting statements about this case.
- Fawcett claims he was ordered to kill the dogs to reduce costs. Jim Houssian, the owner of Outdoor Adventures, says he did not tell Fawcett to kill the dogs.
- First, it was reported the the dogs killed were old and ill. Other statements say a veterinarian contacted to euthanize the dogs refused because the dogs were healthy.
- Fawcett approached the SCPA twice about taking dogs. One person at the SPCA says he contacted them in April or May (possibly before the cull), while another person at the SPCA says he contacted them in May after the cull. Both agree he contacted the SPCA again in September. Either way, Fawcett was turned away by the SPCA both times.
What a mess. There’s always a risk for problems when a business relies on animals for it’s operation. The bottom line is sometime met at the expense of the animals. Whatever led up to the cull, Outdoor Adventures clearly is to blame for not having a plan to provide for its dogs.
The SPCA wouldn’t take the dogs because its behavior expert said sled dogs don’t make good pets. I don’t know enough about the adoptability of sled dogs to have an opinion about that, but I do think the SPCA’s response was shameful. What could they have possibly thought would happen to that many dogs in this economy?
Finally, we consumers need to be aware of what we’re supporting when we spend our money with businesses who rely on animals.
Here’s one last thing to think about dog sledding—The Yukon Quest is underway right now and the Iditarod starts March 5th. 2010 was the first year there were no dog deaths during the Iditarod. 6 dogs died in the 2009 race. Of course, those tallies don’t account for how many dogs died to get the musher to the starting line.