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The Story of Ben

The Story of Ben

TRIAL: May 6, 2010 | 9:30 AM | Alberta Provincial Court in Cochrane | We’ll be there!

Here’s the email we received last week about Ben — Lorna and Ed’s Malamute tragically killed in an out-of-season snare.

We have been going up on the Powderface Trail to Canyon Creek for over four years to run our dogs. Until last year we had two big Alaskan Malamutes, Ben and Keesha and one SPCA special Sarah. Sarah is part cocker spaniel and part border collie, so she has long soft fur.

On November 29th, 2010 my husband and I decided to take Ben and Sarah up for the last run of the year as the Powderface Trail is closed on December 1st for the winter. We left home before noon, putting their coats on; as it is hunting season and we didn’t want Ben to be mistaken for a wolf. Ben has always been very obedient, and they come when called or to a small whistle that I have. He just loves to be able to run free, in and out of the trees. Ed has asthma and so waited in the truck while I walked with the dogs down the valley to the east of the trail.The snow was quite deep that day, and little Sarah was having problems in the snow. Ben had run about 15 yards ahead of me, but I wasn’t worried. I bent down to break the snowballs out of Sarah’s feet, and when I looked up Ben was gone. He just vanished without a sound. I called and called, and walked down the valley a bit more, but still no sign of him. As it was getting dark, we decided to go home and come back the next morning. Ben is an outside dog.

When we got home, I talked to my daughter, and she made up some “Lost” posters and I printed out a bunch to take back up to the area and post on any signboards we came to. We were up at 5:00 A.M. and started to put up our posters everywhere we could. We also talked to a lot of people including some hunters with the idea that the more people that were looking for Ben, the better it would be.

It was about noon by the time we got back to Canyon Creek, and I looked for Ben’s tracks to see which direction he had taken. It wasn’t far from where I last saw him that I found his lifeless body in the trees with a wire snare around his neck. I couldn’t get it off, so had to call Ed to help. Ed couldn’t get it off either, and ended up cutting the cable to get him free. In the same area was another trap, a big wooden box with a large Conabear trap in it and a huge chunk of raw meat. The trap was set about one foot off of the ground, and if a dog or a child had reached in, they would have been caught. The jaws of the Conabear are about 12 inches square, and have two strong springs. Trappers use a rope or clip to set them, as they can be caught in them themselves.

With great difficulty, Ed and I loaded Ben’s 120 pound body into the back of our truck. We headed back to the Ranger Station on the Elbow side and met up with a Conservation Officer, Bill O’Conner. He tried to get the snare wire off of Ben’s neck, but it took him ¾ of an hour trying various tools before he was able to free Ben.

Bill asked us to take him back to where Ben had been caught. He walked in and said it was 300 meters off of the trail. He also asked us if we had taken a quad in there, as there were fresh tracks in the area. We said no, and he left to go back to the Elbow side; and we went north towards the Transcanada Highway.

We continued about a mile or so, and came upon a truck with a quad in the back with fresh snow in the cleats. As we sat there, a man came out of the trees carrying some tools. We asked him if he had been the one who went down the Canyon Creek Valley. He was definitely on the defensive and said yes he was. So Ed told him that he had killed our dog. He went and looked in the back of the truck and said,”oh, sorry”, but I had the feeling he didn’t mean it. We asked his name and I took his license number. His name is John McWilliams. He was very arrogant to us, and so we just left.

When we got back to Calgary, we went over to our vets. and we left Ben’s body there to be cremated. The total bill was $275.00.

Bill O’Conner told us to call the R.C.M.P. in Cochrane, but to wait a few days as they were busy. Ed and I were absolutely devastated by this time. We felt that this was a wrong thing to be happening in a populated recreational area. I can’t remember why, but for some reason we were up on Barlow Trail N.E. and happened to see the Global signs. We went in and talked to a lady there, and she said she would talk to her boss.

They gave us a call, and we went out to the Elbow Falls area on Sunday December 5th and did an interview with the crew from Global news. We just wanted to get the word out, so that no one else would have to go through the heartache that we were experiencing.

Ben wasn’t just a dog. He was a member of our family. He slept outside most nights, but always came in to socialize and have his breakfast. He spent as long as he could stand in the house, as he had such a heavy coat. Ed kept looking out the kitchen window for Ben, as he was so cheeky, and would bark at us through the window.

The Calgary Sun phoned us, and wanted to do an article. A photographer came up to the house and took pictures. They were on the front page of the Sun on December 6th. Also a follow-up article on Dec. 7th.

Our son, Ted, picked up Ben from the City Pound. His boss’ daughter worked there, and Ben had been in the pound 3 weeks, and he hadn’t been adopted. Ted was so happy, and spent a lot of time with Ben, training him and taking him out in the mountains. We had another Malamute at the time, Keesha, and the three dogs ran alongside the truck or the quad. Ben gradually developed a special personality. He became very affectionate and was no trouble if you don’t count the holes in my front lawn!

After the story appeared in the Calgary Sun and on Global T.V. we had lots of people come up to us expressing their sympathy. We were in contact with the Cochrane fish & Wildlife officer named Rob Dipalo. He told us that Mr. McWilliams was charged with hunting out of season. We do not approve of that, as if convicted he would lose his hunting license. We felt he should be charged with what he did wrong, trapping out of season, and he should lose his trapping license. According to Mr. Dipalo Mr. McWilliams has a trapping license, and was allowed to trap after October 1st, but he could not put out snares until after December 1st. If he had obeyed the rules, we would not have lost our pet. Also we do not think it is right that they are allowing trapping in an area where people take their children and pets.

John McWilliams goes on trial for the killing of Ben on May 6 in Cochrane.

TRIAL: May 6, 2010 | 9:30 AM | Alberta Provincial Court in Cochrane | We’ll be there!


Blog post | Calgary Sun story | Global Edmonton


Calgary vigil held for sled dogs slain in Whistler

Calgary vigil held for sled dogs slain in Whistler

View Calgary vigil photos

Calgary animal rights supporters petitioning for tougher cruelty laws

By Stephane Massinon, Calgary Herald

A hundred animal rights supporters held a vigil for the 100 sled dogs that were killed in Whistler one year ago.

Standing at Tompkin’s Place on 17 Avenue and 8 Street S.W. on Saturday night, they held signs and circulated petitions for tougher animal cruelty laws in Canada on the anniversary of a slaughter that garnered international attention.

The killings between April 21 and 23 were brought into the public’s attention when a sled dog company’s general manager applied for compensation for post-traumatic stress after the gruesome deaths of the dogs.

Holding a sign with a photograph of a husky that read “Why did we have to die?” Lauren Rigoni said she was moved to act.

“Animals can’t be treated like disposable objects; they have lives,” said the 12-year-old who painted whiskers on her face.

Event organizer Heather Anderson, founder of the DAISY Foundation, said the vigil was meant to help remember the animals that lost their lives.

“We’re out here just to stand up for these huskies that were murdered and to make sure that a mass murder like this will never happen in Canadian history again,” said Anderson.

She criticized the major political parties for largely ignoring the issue during the federal election. Anderson said she did, however, approve of the British Columbia task force into the sled dog deaths.

The BC provincial government has promised to adopt stricter animal cruelty laws by the fall and to adopt the ten recommendations of the Sled Dog Task Force.

Kevin Sparham, a Calgary resident and recreational sledder, brought two Siberian huskies to the vigil.

He said last year’s killing “brought a tear to the eye.”

He hopes the controversy around the killing brings attention to the issue.

“It needed to be brought up. Some kennels are good, some kennels aren’t,” said Sparham.

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reprinted from Calgary Herald | Other stories


New Democrats weigh in on animal welfare

New Democrats weigh in on animal welfare

DAISY Foundation received the following message as a comment on the post about the Sled Dog vigil, but because Election Day is May 2, I want to also add it as a post so everyone is aware of the New Democrats’ stance with regards to animal welfare in Canada. Thank you Lesley for sharing this with us!

RESPONSE FROM NDP CANDIDATE COLLIN ANDERSON ON THEIR POSITION FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS

Hello Lesley,

New Democrats recognize that animal welfare is very important. We support strengthening provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Section of the Criminal Code of Canada to discourage violence and cruelty against animals and to punish those responsible for such acts.
We continue to support meaningful legislation to provide real protection for animals. The abuse of any vulnerable creature, human or otherwise, is something that we should all take extremely seriously.

Specifically, the NDP are on record in support of amending the Criminal Code to:
•    move animals out of property law and extend protections to wild animals and strays,
•    make it illegal to train animals for fighting or profit from animal fighting;
•    close loopholes that allow 99 per cent of those charged with animal cruelty to escape conviction.

We fought tirelessly in the past to get these important amendments through the House of Commons. We agree that the legislation Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), is deeply flawed and that is why we joined the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in opposing this Bill.

New Democrats also support the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and will work with the Provinces, Territories, government departments and agencies and stakeholders to update Canada’s laws and policies on animal cruelty and welfare to reflect the principles of UDAW. Furthermore, we will … ensure Canada plays a leadership role internationally to promote animal welfare.

With regard to animal transportation, the NDP’s Agriculture critic, Alex Atamanenko, MP, has been working to promote policies that protect animals from the various stresses they may endure during the excessively long transport times allowed under the current regulatory regime. He has been corresponding with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and meeting with officials since 2006 to urge them to move more quickly to modernize the current regulations around animal transportation. Although the CFIA has been studying this issue for several years, changes in regulations are still outstanding.

In 2008, Mr. Atamanenko had his motion passed at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF) calling for CFIA officials to be brought before the Committee to present a briefing on the status of their regulatory review process. According to their presentation they were still working with the Justice Department and preparing the regulatory amendments for publication in the Canada Gazette to be followed by a public consultation process. In response to Mr. Atamanenko’s November, 2009 follow up letter, the CFIA indicated there was still no movement on this file.

Mr. Atamanenko also re-introduced his previous motion in the House of Commons. It states as follows:
M-436 – September 15, 2009 – Mr. Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) – That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately move to publish the revised regulations governing animal transportation under the Health of Animals Act.

Again, thank you for writing to me about such an important issue.

Collin

You can read more about their stance on the Vote for Animals website. Or download Case for a Universal Declaration On Animal Welfare.

Remember: Get out and vote. Reading a blog or carrying signs for the news cameras won’t change the world for our animals. Voting can.


Will you vigil for the sled dogs on April 23rd?

Will you vigil for the sled dogs on April 23rd?

About this time a year ago, someone was sitting in the office of their business and looking over the financials. The expected boom from the recent Olympics had not worked out as expected, so changes had to be made. The easiest and quickest change would be to reduce the number of dogs this sled dog touring company had in its inventory. So he decided: 100 sled dogs needed to be killed.

And word was sent to the man who lives among them — the sled dogs’ very lifeline. It would be the job of their caretaker — the man who fed them, attended to them; the man who named them, and even kept one of them as his family dog — to kill them.

Reports that I have read say that he tried to find homes for as many as he could. And he was largely unsuccessful. The BC SPCA reportedly turned him down saying that sled dogs are unadoptable. This is not true.

But what I read that has stuck with me the most was the report released from Work Safe BC:

“As a result of the panic, mid-way through April 21st, he wounded but did not kill one dog, “Suzie”. Suzie was the mother of his family’s pet dog “Bumble”. He had to chase Suzie through the yard because the horrific noise she made when wounded caused him to drop the leash. Although she had the left side of her cheek blown off and her eye hanging out, he was unable to catch her. He then obtained a gun with a scope and used it to shoot her when she settled down close to another group of dogs. When he went to gather her body he was attacked by one of the other dogs and bitten in the arm. Although because he had a thick shirt on he was not injured, the moment was horrific given his fear when attacked combined with his feelings about the culling of the dogs.”

“On April 21 ,2010, he put down approximately 55 dogs. As he neared the end of the cull that day, the dogs were so panicked they were biting him; he had to wrap his arms in foam to prevent injury. He also had to perform what he described as “execution style” killings where he wrestled the dogs to the ground and stood on them with one foot to shoot them. The last few kills were “multiple-shot killings” as he was simply unable to get a clean shot. He described a guttural sound he had never heard before from the dogs and fear in their eyes.”

I do not doubt that this man has PTSD. I would be forever haunted. I want to scream at the computer that he could have done more and should have done more. But I have not walked in his shoes to fully understand the path he chose.

Instead I feel that on some level, in some parallel universe, or sadly in THIS universe, we ALL failed these dogs. We failed to realize the nature of this industry to periodically cull their dogs for business’ sake. We have failed to pull together as a society to be open and responding to their needs, we failed to help these babies.

Kyber, a Whistler sled dog


Most rescues and shelters are full… and likely responded as such if/when they were approached by Outdoor Adventures Whistler. Would/could they have responded differently if they had realized the very real urgency here?

As we finally start to really embrace a more humane lifestyle for our animals — pets, farm animals and wildlife, we must make ourselves available to the situations we encounter and respond appropriately. Both the situations that we know of and those that will arise. We need to improve our animal welfare legislation. We need to stop animals from being categorized as mere property and respect their sentience. We need to create a more effective countrywide network of rescues and shelters so that people in trouble can more easily tap into this community of caregivers when they need help. We need to do it for the animals.

 

On April 23, 2010, the last of the sled dogs were killed. And not in a pretty or humane way. They died terrified.

On April 23, 2011 in many communities across the globe, people will be marching or gathering in vigil to the victims who were given no say about their very own lives, the ONE thing that truly is our own. It’s not too late to organize your own sled dog vigil — whether it is a march, a gathering in a park or even inviting your friends to join you in your backyard. In remembrance of these dogs, we MUST enact better legislation for the welfare of our animals. And we must enact stiffer penalties for animal abuse/cruelty.

And remember: Get out and vote. Reading a blog or carrying signs for the news cameras won’t change the world. Voting can.

More photos of Outdoor Adventure Whistler sled dogs | Thanks to Amie Wills for posting their photos

List of cities holding vigils



Will you Vote for the Animals on May 2nd?

Will you Vote for the Animals on May 2nd?

(click image above for a smile…)

On May 2nd, Canadians will elect a new government. Animals can’t speak or vote so we must be their voice. Help us send the message that animals matter!

Visit the WSPA’s (World Society for the Protection of Animals) Vote for Animals site to:

Get more involved!

Here are a few things you can do to get more involved in campaigning to protect animals in your riding and across Canada.

  • Attend the all-candidates debate in your riding. Contact your local candidates for more information about when and where the debates will be held in your riding. Consider asking an animal welfare related question at the debate.
  • Collect signatures on WSPA’s petition for stronger animal cruelty laws. During the next session of Parliament, WSPA will see that these signatures are presented to the House of Commons. A similar petition effort in 2008 and 2009 resulted in a Parliamentary motion in support of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
  • Follow Vote for Animals on Twitter and Facebook.

Now is the time to make change happen.

So much has come to light in the past year from the “No Country for Animals” documentary to the awful slaughter of 100 healthy sled dogs in Whistler and so many other cases inbetween.

Now is the time for us to unite our voices and do right for our animals.

Now is the time to speak for them.

Get out and vote. Reading a blog or carrying signs for the news cameras won’t change the world. Voting can.


More on the elections



Red Deer joins the sled dog vigil with a memorial walk

Red Deer joins the sled dog vigil with a memorial walk

Sled dog memorial walk in Red DeerWe just received word that folks in Red Deer, Alberta will be holding a memorial walk on April 23, 2011 for the sled dogs killed in Whistler. This event is being put on by Candice and 2 friends.

Here’s what she said. “In February, we held a walk and got great support, however it was also -33. So, on April 23rd we are holding the walk again: 2 pm-3:30.”

“We are starting at Bower Ponds, then walking up and around City Hall, to get the most exposure as possible. Either our facebook page or (Enable Javascript to see the email address) is what we will be using for contact information.”

From their Facebook page:

In response to the out pour of support from the community and dog lovers alike. A follow up memorial walk is being planned for the anniversary date of the slaughtering of 100 healthy sled dogs in Whistler, B.C. We welcome everyone, their families, and their pets to join us in April (hopefully much warmer then the walk in February :). To honor these animals, and other animals that have been abused, beat, or tortured. Bring your signs, and sign the petition in support of Bill-C 229. I encourage everyone to check out http://markholland.liberal.ca/cruelty-to-animals/ . Especially S-203 vs. C-229, as it clearly illustrates the current loopholes in Canada animal cruelty legislation. And http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnKmECGxnSs. As mentioned this is very much still in the planning stage and we encourage those who are interested in helping plan, or have ideas or suggestions to contact (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

So glad to add them to the event calendar… and we are so happy to hear from Red Deer!


UK lawyer responds to B.C.’s new animal protection legislation

UK lawyer responds to B.C.’s new animal protection legislation

In a letter to Sarah West, Founder and President of CFAWR — Canadians For Animal Welfare Reform, Peter Collins, a UK lawyer involved with charities and the media, applauds B.C.’s changes to its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including increasing penalties to as much as $75,000 and as long as 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences. These changes come in the wake of the mass slaughter of sled dogs near Whistler last April 2010, Premier Christy Clark said.

Dear Madam,

As a lawyer in the UK involved with charities and the media, I was delighted to read your comments about the need to strengthen animal cruelty laws, a pleasant contrast to the dreadful publicity Canada usually receives due its abject failure to protect its animals. I hope you will also consider the following wider aspect when dealing with the legislation as it impacts upon people too.

There is huge evidence now that people/children who abuse and torture animals usually go on to abuse other people/children so it is vital that such people are properly punished, the punishments publicised widely, and put on an Animal Abusers Register, not only to protect animals but to protect children in the future. Parents of children who abuse animals need to be called to account for their feral offspring’s actions. Such cases of animal torture are on the increase, which means that violence to other people and children will escalate too. There is of course also an undeniable link between animal cruelty and domestic violence against women too.

Punishments meted out are usually pathetically lenient and many police forces fail to take it seriously leaving people and animals at risk in the future. This is not what your voters expect from its judicial system. It is very damaging to a country’s reputation if they fail to stamp this out.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. If caught early in the violence cycle, perpetrators would be charged, arrested and dealt with before their violence escalates. Many serial killers, for example, have been documented as animal abusers and killers in their youth.

There is evidence now that people even witnessing violence towards animals (eg spectators of dog fighting,) often are shown to become violent towards other people, and for this reason the main TV station in Madrid have actually banned the broadcasting of bull fighting for this reason.

The latest indication of waning tolerance for the cruelty of bullfighting is the recent announcement by a Spanish broadcaster who is refusing to air bullfights on television, citing children as the reason for the ban. According to a New York Times article, the state broadcaster, RTVE, said Saturday that it would not broadcast bullfights due to the risk of exposing children to violence against animals.

Furthermore, with dog fighting, the dogs cause a severe danger to people as well. There have been thousands of cases all over the world where people, especially children, have been severely injured and killed by dogs trained to fight.

I wish you all the very best for what you are trying to do, and desperately hope you involve all of your Canada’s key governmental figures in the issue of animal welfare, namely to create and enforce strong animal welfare protection laws with proper penalties to protect domestic, farm and wild animals because through the media and internet all issues of animal suffering are discovered and publicised universally and millions of people all over the world, including my many Canadian friends, care deeply about animal welfare issues, as evidenced by the huge membership and wealth of many animal charities, and are connected on the internet, for example on social networking sites, and do not hesitate boycotting, and arranging boycotts, of tourism to countries, and a country’s goods, if it fails to protect its animals, and such boycotts have been very successful can cause severe damage at a time of economic crisis.

I know Canadian embassies all over the world have stated they receive more criticism on this than any other issue, and costs Canadian taxpayers millions every year. And look at the EU-wide ban on Canadian seal products!

Very best wishes.

Peter Collins

Our kudos to B.C., too!


Adjournment in Sundre horse killing case

Adjournment in Sundre horse killing case

DARYL SLADE | POSTMEDIA NEWS – APRIL 4, 2011

Man accused of shooting wild horse says he will be exonerated

Trial for three men should begin Tuesday in Calgary

Dead mare


CALGARY — One of three men accused of illegally shooting a feral horse near Sundre in 2009 said Monday he’s confident he will be exonerated.

“We’re happy to finally get our chance in court,” Jason Nixon said outside court after the opening of trial was delayed for a day. “I haven’t done anything wrong. We’ll have to wait for the process to play itself out. All I can say is I didn’t do this, what we’re accused of, and we’ll have to wait for the evidence to unfold.”

Nixon, 30, Gary Cape, 36, and Earl Anderson, 41, each face charges of wilfully killing a horse and careless use of a firearm.

The three men, along with a youth who cannot be named, were charged early last year after the feral horse was shot near Sundre. about 140 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

All three men previously entered not guilty pleas to the charges in Didsbury provincial court. The scheduled four-day trial for the three men was later moved to Calgary.

Provincial court Judge Cheryl Daniel agreed to adjourn the trial for the day after the three men’s lawyers and Crown prosecutor Gord Haight discussed new disclosure that was recently turned over from the RCMP.

The case will go more efficiently if there is a brief adjournment, Don MacLeod, lawyer for Anderson, said outside court.

“This results from late disclosure to the Crown, then in turn to all defence counsel,” said MacLeod. “That gave rise to some issues about further disclosure that we all wanted to have a look at before we cross-examine witnesses in the case.

“(It involves) some emails between witnesses or potential witnesses and potentially further communication that may or may not have taken place between the police and another potential witness that we all — Crown and three defence counsel — want to take a look at.”

MacLeod said in dealing with other issues, it was also determined there was a gap in photographic evidence relating to the scene in general that all counsel felt would be of great assistance to the court in what happens in the case.

The lawyer, however, said as the case is before the courts he could not elaborate on any of the issues or evidence.

The case, he expects, should proceed on Tuesday.

Previously, Nixon’s lawyer, Willie deWit, said he believes his client has a viable defence to the charges, but declined to say what his strategy at trial would be.

“There’s a lot more to the story than has come out so far,” said deWit.

A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named, is facing the same two Criminal Code charges as the adults. He also pleaded not guilty to the same charges.

Nixon and Anderson have ties to the Mustard Seed Street Ministry, which operates the Mountain Aire Lodge facility west of Sundre.

The lodge provides outreach to formerly homeless men and women.

RCMP have been investigating the deaths of at least 13 wild horses around Sundre since 2007.


reprinted from Calgary Herald


April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd Vigil for the lost lives of 100 Sled Dogs

April 23rd vigil for the Sled dogs of WhistlerWe are a movement that has spread across Canada and other parts of the globe to not only honor the sled dogs on the anniversary of their death, but to also bring awareness and opportunity for legislative change.

We hope for 100 cities, 1 for each sled dog executed!

In Canada, at each city, petitions for Mark Holland’s Bill C-229 will be signed in an effort to advance laws that will provide greater stronger animal cruelty legislation. Our goal is 1 million signatures!

We can make a difference but only as a united front!

Come join us and organize a Vigil on April 23rd in your community now!

More info regarding the vigils

Important! If you have any questions not covered by the notes below, please send an email to (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

1. If you are interested in seeing if a city has a vigil planned already, and would like more info, to attend or to help, please go to this link, or send an email to Crystal or Julia at (Enable Javascript to see the email address), or comment on this page.

2. If you would like information on how to hold a Vigil, please see this note.

3. If you would like information on how to do a Guerrilla walk (a spontaneous gathering or for those who are having trouble obtaining permits, etc. if so required by your city), please see this note.

4. If you would like to have a history on the Sled Dog Massacre, and why we are holding these vigils, please see this note. It contains news links and other pertinent information about Canadian Animal Cruelty Legislation. Some information is graphic, so please be prepared.

5. If you would like information on Bill C-229 Animal Cruelty Legislation, please see this note.

If you would like to see anything else not covered by these links, or would like to see all the notes we have, please go here: all Vigil Notes


Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

Introducing Canada’s toughest animal-protection laws

B.C. toughens animal cruelty laws after sled dog cull

GLOBAL NEWS  | APRIL 5, 2011

BC toughens animal cruelty legislation after sled dog massacre


VANCOUVER — British Columbia announced Tuesday that it is acting on all of the recommendations of its Sled Dog Task Force, including providing new funding for animal-cruelty investigations and introducing the toughest animal-protection laws anywhere in Canada.

The province will change its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, including increasing penalties to as much as $75,000 and as long as 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences, in the wake of a mass slaughter of sled dogs near Whistler last April, Premier Christy Clark said.

The task force was appointed in February after news broke that an employee of a sled dog company in Whistler, B.C., had killed as many as 100 dogs over a period of two days last year.

The dogs, owned by Outdoor Adventures Whistler, were killed by Robert Fawcett in April 2010.

The killings came to light after Fawcett filed a WorkSafeBC report claiming post-traumatic stress from the shootings.

The WorkSafeBC report, obtained by the media, details how Fawcett shot, stabbed and bludgeoned the animals to death after he was apparently told by his employer to cull some of the company’s 300 dogs.

The revelation led to an international condemnation of Fawcett’s actions as well as death threats against Fawcett and other Outdoor Adventures Whistler employees.

The province said Tuesday it will extend the current six-month limitation period for prosecuting offences and requiring mandatory reporting of animal abuse by veterinarians.

The BC SPCA has also received a $100,000 grant to enhance its their capacity for animal cruelty investigations, Clark said in a news release.

A joint RCMP and SPCA probe into the dogs’ deaths will resume once the winter snow melts.

Sled dog  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck



reprinted from Global News
Similar stories:
B.C. to toughen animal laws after sled dog slaughter from The Canadian Press