Wednesday April 16, 2014


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Local News

Joint statement claims dogs were 'sick', 'old'

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Outdoor Adventures Whistler and Bob Fawcett, former general manager of Howling Dog Tours Whistler, issued a joint statement on Wednesday (Feb. 2) that included points that both parties agree on regarding reports of a mass euthanization of sled dogs in April 2010.

Fawcett, who The Question previously chose not to name due to concerns about his mental state, is reportedly the man who carried out the euthanizations.

“There were no instructions given to Mr. Fawcett as to the manner of euthanizing dogs on this occasion, and Mr. Fawcett was known to have very humanely euthanized dogs on previous occasions,” said the statement.

The statement said that Fawcett advised Outdoor Adventures owner Joey Houssian in mid-April that approximately 50 dogs that were “too old,” “sick” or “not adoptable” would be euthanized due to their condition.

“These dogs live to ‘run' and were not able to do so and would have had to be kept in cages with the result that they would have had very poor or virtually no quality of life,” said the statement.

It also states that “considerable efforts” were made to find adoptive homes for the animals but that “efforts at adoption were not as successful as hoped.”

Outdoor Adventures took over Howling Dog Tours in May of 2010.

Fawcett previously served on the board of Mush with PRIDE — an Alaska-based organization comprised of mushers “concerned about the care of sled dogs and public perceptions of mushing,” according to the group's website.

However, a statement issued by Mush with PRIDE president Karen Ramstead on the group's website said a motion was passed to have Fawcett removed from the board immediately.

“Euthanasia should not be used for population control and what happened in this case is simply unacceptable,” said Ramstead. “No responsible sled dog owner or caregiver treats dogs in this manner.”

Also on Wednesday, Premier Gordon Campbell announced the creation of a provincial task force that will review the dog killings and make recommendations on how to keep a similar incident from taking place in the future.

"No creature should ever have to suffer in the manner that has been reported, and we want to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again in our province," Campbell said in a statement.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake, also a veterinarian, will lead the task force.


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