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Friday, February 4, 2011

Outcry as tourism slump leads 100 huskies to be shot and stabbed

A worker with a knife and shotgun slaughtered 100 husky dogs in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler when a tour firm specialising in sled rides failed to secure enough bookings.

The execution-style cull, which has horrified animal lovers around the world, emerged in an employment tribunal action brought by an unnamed worker. The worker claimed post-traumatic stress disorder after killing the dogs. He was awarded compensation, reportedly.

Outdoor Adventures, whose policy now states that dogs have to be put down humanely by a vet, said: “While we were aware of the… euthanisation of dogs, we were completely unaware of the details,” Britain’s Daly Mirror newspaper reported.

The slaughter apparently happened in the two months after the 2010 Winter Olympics, when he dogs were no longer needed by tourism companies Outdoor Adventures and Howling Dogs Whistler Inc.

The killing was not done cleanly, the dogs were killed in front of other dogs that were tethered and Canada’s Society for Prevention of Animal Cruelty has described it as a massacre. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has opened a police file and assigned an investigator.

The Calgary Herald, which interviewed owners of other sled dog operations, found owners were greatly shocked by the report. One said the massacre showed the need for tougher regulations in the industry. The reaction of Snowy Owl Dog Sledding Adventure Tours owner, Connie Arsenault, was typical. She was horrified by the incident. “Those dogs didn’t deserve that,” she told the paper. “I don’t understand why that person would even follow through on instructions like that.”

Written by Peter Needham
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