Sled dogs allegedly slaughtered in Canada after Olympics tourism doesn’t pan out

Posted By elaine on February 1, 2011


Sled dogs in Canada (AP Photo)

100 dogs were allegedly shot and killed in Vancouver  after an expected post-Olympics boon in dogsledding business at an adventure company didn’t pan out.  Most died instantly, but others suffered according to a former employee at the sled dog company .

The gruesome event was described in documents awarding compensation to a worker, who claimed post-traumatic stress disorder for having to shoot the dogs after bookings dropped sharply for a tour operator following the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Now both the British Columbia SPCA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the slaughter.

“There aren’t words to really describe some of the ways these dogs died,”  Marcie Moriarty, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in British Columbia said. “We don’t put cows down like that. Slaughterhouses have very strict rules for how supposed culling takes place. This violated every one of them.”

An employee of Outdoor Adventures Whistler was awarded compensation in a ruling by WorkSafe BC, the provincial body that manages workers’ compensation claims. Outdoor Adventures did not contest the man’s compensation claims.

The WorkSafe documents are confidential, but Moriarty has read them as part of the society’s investigation.

Moriarty said it is likely the individual who will be facing charges and not the company.

“Obviously we would like to lay charges as soon as possible,” she said. “We are looking at the particular individual. Whether the company is liable, I don’t know. Morally, yes.”

She said SPCA constables are in Whistler doing investigations. She said they are hoping to file charges without having to dig up the mass grave of dogs. “It’s frozen and under feet of snow,” she said.

Tourism Whistler has suspended reservations for the company while the investigation unfolds, spokeswoman Patricia Westerholm said. She said the mood in Whistler is somber.

The documents reveal bookings for dog sled tours collapsed after the Olympics, and when the company could not find homes for its animals, it ordered the cull. The dogs, which were part of a pack of 300, were shot over two days last April.

Other dogsled tour operators in the tight-knit mushing community in British Columbia expressed outrage over the killings. Several operators said they routinely adopt dogs from other companies, but were not asked to take any from Whistler in early 2010.

Tim Tedford, who runs dog sled tours in the Big White area, near Kelowna, said, “That behavior doesn’t sound like a real musher.”

“Most mushers love their dogs. That sounds more like an accountant to me. Most mushers would starve themselves before they’d ever neglect their dogs,” he said.

Following revelations of the slaughter, the Vancouver Humane Society on Monday called for a ban on the sled-dog tour business.

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2 Responses to “Sled dogs allegedly slaughtered in Canada after Olympics tourism doesn’t pan out”

  1. I find this article very upsetting. Why in this world that we live in would this be allowed to happen. Did these dogs not belong to someone? What is wrong with this world. I cannot express how this makes me feel. I look at those dogs who were willing to pull their hearts out for the race and then when they were not needed they were killed, Shame on you, Shame on all of you. The person or persons responsible for this needs to be punished to the full extent of the law and then some. This makes me ashamed of our country to allow this to happen. Those poor animals did nothing to deserve this….I am so upset I cannot even imagine what those dogs went through. Shame on Vancover……………..

  2. After reading this article it makes me ashamed to be part of this country. A Country that would allow this to happen to these beautiful dogs….It is not their fault the event was cancelled. Where did the dogs come from. I am sure they had owners…….Shame on you ….What a disgrace………I am ashamed of this ……..Someone needs to answer for this and be punished to the full extent of the law with a prison term for a long long time

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