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No jail time for B.C. man who slaughtered sled dogs

Robert Fawcett handed three years' probation

By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press November 23, 2012

A man who pleaded guilty to the slaughter of dozens of sled dogs will not spend time in prison, a judge has ruled, concluding the man had the "best interests" of the dogs at heart when he culled the pack near Whistler after a slump in business following the 2010 Olympics.

Whistler dog sled

But while Provincial Court Judge Steve Merrick said he agreed with a psychiatrist's assessment that Robert Fawcett's actions were the result of mental instability, he noted: "(You) ought to have anticipated the possibility of the horrific circumstances that could result."

"It is beyond comprehension as to how this could have occurred," said Merrick, who sentenced Fawcett to three years' probation.

The devastating aftermath from the April 2010 killing was laid bare in B.C. Supreme Court for the first time Thursday by Fawcett's lawyer, who described how hard it was for his client to even listen to details of killing his beloved animals again in court.

"I will never stop feeling guilty for the suffering that the dogs endured that day," said defence lawyer Greg Diamond, quoting his client.

"I feel like part of me died with those dogs."

Fawcett admitted in August to killing the dogs in a gruesome tableau over two days following a post-Olympic slump in sales. Court heard he felt forced into the decision when the owners of Howling Dog Tours put an "absolute freeze" on spending, aside from food and the bare

At that point, Fawcett was working 150 hours over two weeks to care for the animals and watching their conditions deteriorate to the point where they were fighting and killing each other in their kennel.

"In part, he accepted the burden because he felt he could do it compassionately and he did not want that burden placed on anyone else," Diamond said.

"He gained the fortitude to do it based largely on the vision the remaining dogs could have a happy life and it was for the greater good."

Whistler dog sled

Fawcett huddled into himself with his arms crossed during the proceedings. Women in the gallery openly sobbed and at one point, there was an outburst that was met with a sharp reprimand from the judge.

Fawcett pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals, which relates specifically to the deaths of nine dogs. More than 50 dogs were exhumed from a mass grave in May 2011 as part of a massive forensic investigation by the B.C. SPCA. Court heard that most of the dogs that were shot did not suffer.

Animal euthanasia is legal in Canada.

The defence supplied 30 character references to the judge that described Fawcett's "admirable dedication" to the dogs, as Diamond asked the court to consider probation but no jail time.

He argued the sentence should be more related to rehabilitation, noting his client has suffered permanent mental damage and has become an "international pariah," partly due to intense media scrutiny.

He said his client has attempted suicide, has tattooed a ring of dogs around his arm to remember their lives and still shudders when he hears a dog bark.

He said the one "silver lining" resulting from the ordeal is legislative reform that gives B.C. some of the toughest animal cruelty laws in the country and sets out guidelines related to the retirement of dogs.

Earlier, the Crown also urged perspective, noting facts supersede emotions. Lawyer Nicole Gregoire asked for a sentence of three years probation with conditions, a $5,000 fine, and 200 hours community service.

"We're looking at a very unique set of circumstances," Gregoire said.

She too described how Fawcett suffered death threats, had a mental breakdown that sent him to an institution for two months and even had his young children and wife forced into hiding.

The incident became public January 2011 after a workers' compensation claim for posttraumatic stress disorder was leaked. Gregoire said questions remain about the apparent contradiction of how someone who was caring and had a track record of high standards could inflict pain on the animals.

She pointed to a psychological assessment to provide some insight, noting the psychiatrist found Fawcett likely had been experiencing "high levels of distress" leading up to the cull, and likely had disassociated his emotions during the bloody event itself.

The maximum sentence under the Criminal Code is five years prison time and up to $75,000 in fines.

Besides probation, Merrick ordered Fawcett to pay a $1,500 fine, complete 200 hours community work service and he may not participate in the sled dog industry or make decisions about euthanizing animals.

Whistler dog sled

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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Charges of mass slaughter laid in Whistler sled dogs case

Charges have been laid against Bob Fawcett, the former general manager of the Whistler-based Howling Dog Tours
ウィスラーのハウリング・ドック&ツアーの代表、Bob Fawcett、告発される

By NEAL HALL, Vancouver SunApril 21, 2012 8:35 AM

VANCOUVER - A charge has been laid against Bob Fawcett, the former general manager of Whistler-based Howling Dog Tours, for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to sled dogs killed in a mass slaughter in April 2010.
バンクーバー-Bob Fawcett、ウィスラーが拠点のハウリング・ドッグ&ツアーズの元代表が、2010年4月に大量虐殺した犬ぞり犬を不必要に痛みつけ、苦しめた罪で告発されました。

Fawcett's first court appearance is scheduled for May 24 in Pemberton Provincial Court.

The charge approval is a huge step toward justice for the sled dogs, who lost their lives after demand for sled tours dropped following the 2010 Olympics, said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC SPCA.
告発の認証は、2010年のオリンピックの後、犬ぞりツアーの需要が激減した後に命を落とした犬そり犬に報いるための大きな一歩です。と、BC州SPCAの虐待調査員統括責任者であるMarcie Moriartyさんは話しました。


"We're very pleased the Crown has approved these charges," she said Friday.

"It was the largest and most complex, I would venture, animal cruelty case in Canada."

The investigation, which included a team of forensic investigators, cost more than $250,000 and resulted in a new sled dog code of practice, which was adopted two months ago, Moriarty said.

"It had far-reaching implications," she said of the investigation.

The organization is hoping the new provincial code of practice will serve as a model for treatment of working dogs across Canada, Moriarty said.


She doesn't expect any further charges to arise out of the incident, adding that animal cruelty charges can only be laid under the Criminal Code against the person who killed the dogs.

"It's always been legal to kill your animal," Moriarty explained. "It just has to be done humanely."


"The incident drew international outrage, but at the time of the investigation some members of the public didn't understand why we had to go through the extensive process of exhuming the bodies when Bob Fawcett had already described his actions," Moriarty said.


"In order to move forward with criminal charges in the case, we had to produce clear evidence linking an individual to the crime as well as physical proof that the animals suffered unnecessarily, as outlined in the Criminal Code. Without that verification we could not present a case to Crown counsel."

Many of the forensic experts volunteered their expertise for the operation, Moriarty said.

The BC SPCA was also a key contributor to a B.C. government task force created last year to examine ways to ensure more humane treatment of sled dogs and to draft the sled dog code of practice, which was adopted in February this year.

The BC SPCA is planning a memorial for the slain dogs this summer.

"We have handled the remains of the dogs with the utmost respect and dignity and will be releasing details of the memorial soon," Moriarty said.


"By uncovering the truth, we have spoken out for these animals. We hope that they will finally be able to rest in peace."

Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun








Whistler’s sled dog massacre

by Ken MacQueen on Thursday, October 27, 2011 8:30am

Doggone-mystery_wide (410x172)

Even now, it is the conflicted sense of apprehension that Marcie Moriarty remembers: hoping to find a mass grave under piles of junk in a forest clearing north of Whistler, B.C.—and hoping not to. Then the ugly reality of the dozens of tangled corpses of sled dogs emerging as the ground was sifted away by some of the world’s leading forensic investigators. That, and the smell of death that followed her home. “It brings shivers to me,” says Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It’s hard not to look at something like this and just lose all faith in humanity.”
今になっても尚、Marcie Moriartyは相反する懸念があったことを覚えています。-BC州ウィスラーの北にある森の捜索で、積み重なった瓦礫の下から集団墓地が見つかって欲しい、一方、見つからないで欲しい。そして今、世界的にも一流の犯罪調査員たちにより、土が取り除かれ、犬ぞり犬たちの絡まりあった何十もの死骸が醜い現実となって姿を現しました。その現実、死の臭いは、彼女の家までついて来ました。「それは身震いさせるものです。」とBC州SPCA(動物虐待防止協会)代表のMoriartyは語りました。「このようなものから目を背けることは難しく、ただただ、人道というものに対しての信頼をすっかり失ってしまいます。」

4881424 (410x265)

Few murder cases, animal or human, have generated such instant revulsion as the gory killing in April 2010 of some 56 unwanted sled dogs belonging to Whistler-based Howling Dog Tours.
動物だろうが人間だろうが、2010年4月に起きた、ウィスラーが拠点のHowling Dog Toursが所有する56匹の不必要になった犬ぞり犬の流血殺害のように、即時に人々に嫌悪感を感じさせる殺害事件はほとんどありませんでした。


The case drew international outrage, blackened the reputation of one of B.C.’s premier resort destinations, and triggered a task force that toughened provincial animal cruelty laws. It was apparent, however, that pressing criminal charges required more than Fawcett’s unsubstantiated claims. Even unearthing the bodies was insufficient, says Moriarty, a lawyer. “What needs to be shown is that the animals suffered unnecessarily to prove the Criminal Code offence.” Last month, the society filed thousands of pages of evidence with Crown prosecutors, recommending criminal charges of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. It may be months before the Crown decides if charges are warranted.

Certainly the details of the compensation claim, based on information allegedly provided by Fawcett, suggest a horrific scene, even though it contains at least one major discrepancy: it states 100 dogs were killed, though the investigators eventually found 56.


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.” The second day of killing, April 23, was even worse: “He noticed that a female, ‘Nora,’ who he had shot approximately 20 minutes before was crawling around in the mass grave he had dug for the animals. He had to climb down into the grave amidst the 10 or so bodies already there, and put her out of her misery.”

As a result of the leaked report, the SPCA mobilized a near-unprecedented gathering of top forensic experts, a group accustomed to investigating human murder scenes, unearthing the remains of serial killers or probing the mass graves and genocidal killing fields of Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and elsewhere. Collectively, they have seen some of the worst atrocities mankind can inflict to fellow human beings, and yet the deaths of these dogs struck a chord. Many, pet owners themselves, were so eager to help they worked for free or for drastically reduced fees.

Much of the task of gathering the team fell to Gail Anderson, associate director of the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University and a specialist in forensic entomology, the use of insects in determining time and place of death, expertise used in dozens of murder cases and the Robert Pickton serial murders. She drew on the criminology faculty and students, and plumbed her contacts. “It’s a very emotional thing, so everybody was interested in getting involved in it,” says Anderson. Among five forensic archaeologists on scene was William Haglund, once chief medical examiner for the Seattle area and the United Nations senior forensic adviser for criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He called upon his friend and colleague Douglas Scott in Nebraska, who has sifted through battlefields and mass graves and provided expert testimony in Saddam Hussein’s trial for the genocidal attacks on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq.
チームを結成するという大半の役目は、サイモンフレイザー大学の犯罪学の学部長であり、多くの犯罪やRobert Pickton連続殺人にも使われた専門技術、死亡地を決定する法医昆虫学の専門家である、Gail Anderson女史に任されました。彼女は、犯罪学部や生徒にアプローチし、思い当たるところを探りました。「とても感情的なものです。なので、誰もが関わることに興味を示しました。」とAnderson女史は言います。現場の中にいた5名の考古学者の一人は、William Haglund氏でした。かつて、シアトル地区での医療検査官で、ルアンダや前ユーゴスラビアの犯罪法廷のアドバイザーでした。彼は、友人で同僚であるネブラスカのDouglas Scottを呼びました。Douglasは戦場、集団墓地を厳密に調べ、イラク北部のクルド人の村の集団殺戮に対するサダムフセイン裁判にて、専門的な証言を提供したのです。

“It was a remarkable cast of characters,” Scott says of the group that descended on the isolated site this past May. The team was divided into three: those who exhumed the bodies, veterinarians who examined the remains, and some of the SPCA’s 26 sworn constables, who ensured potential exhibits weren’t tampered with should the case go to trial.
「それは異常な様相を呈していました。」と、スコット氏は、5月にその孤立した場所を訪れたグループについて語りました。チームは3つに分かれました。死体を掘り起こすチーム、遺体を調べる獣医、そして、万が一この事件が裁判に持ち込まれたとき、不正が行われないよう監視する26名のSPCA の巡査官のグループです。

The first task was clearing and examining the scrap and wood debris piled on the site, in what seemed like an attempt to mask the graves. Their dimensions were determined using lasers, probes, and trenching. Several feet of soil was scraped away in stages with an excavator before the sprawling site was sectioned into grids, and the delicate work began on hands and knees. Scott used the kind of telescopic transit that land surveyors employ to make a three-dimensional map of the graves, charting the bodies using a computer-aided design program as they were uncovered with trowels, paintbrushes and delicate bamboo tools. After being photographed and assigned evidence numbers, they were carried to a triage site for X-rays and field necropsies, and then moved off-site for further examination in an attempt to determine not just the cause of death but whether they suffered a painful death.

470_bc_sled_dog_grave_2_110508 CTV (410x230)
From CTV

Although the bodies had been in the chill earth for almost a year they were largely intact. “They were saponified, that is they had reached a waxy stage, but they were still recognizable,” said Scott. The sight and smell “can be disconcerting,” he says. “You also have to compartmentalize yourself a little bit and realize what you’re doing is trying to recover evidence.” Throughout the exercise, his friend Haglund wore a tie, as he always has at human gravesites, as a sign of professionalism and respect for the dead. “I’m here to help the dogs,” he told an interviewer in May. “They’re dead, but they can have a story to tell us. And we’re going to read that story.”

Anderson says the scientists treated the investigation with the rigour that human deaths require, knowing their findings may be held up to legal scrutiny and cross-examination. “Whether it’s an animal or a human case, when we end up in court, there’s no difference in the standard of the science,” says Anderson. “We must maintain those standards, it doesn’t matter if I’m dealing with a dead dog or a dead child, a dead man or a dead bear.”

The investigation cost about $250,000. The province provided $100,000 and the rest is being raised through public donations, as is the agency’s $26-million annual budget. It is the most complex investigation the SPCA has ever conducted, said Moriarty.

The Crown will decide who to charge, if charges are warranted. Joey Houssian, who owns Howling Dog Tours through his parent company, Outdoor Adventures at Whistler, said in a statement he requested the cull of “old and sick” dogs, but “we had every reason to believe this would be done in a professional and humane manner.” The maximum penalty is five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
検察は、もし有罪になるのなら、誰が罪に問われるのかを決定します。Howling Dogツアーズ所有していた親会社、アウトドア・アドベンチャーのJoey Houssianは、「年老いているか、病気の犬」を淘汰するように要請したけれど、「それはプロフェッショナルで人道的な方法がとられたと信じるにたる理由があった」と、文書の中で述べました。最高の罰則は、5年の拘置と1万ドル(100万円)の罰金です。

sled-dogs02-700x436 (410x255)
Photo from Seattle Dog Spot

Some have questioned the expense of the investigation and why the dogs werent left in the grave. “Well, I can assure you those dogs were not resting peacefully,” Moriarty says. “We speak for animals. If we weren’t going to be speaking up in this case, in what case do we speak up?”



















以下、Vancouver Sunより。


WHISTLER - The bodies of 52 of the estimated 100 sled dogs culled by a dogsledding outfit last year have been exhumed from a mass grave site near Whistler.

Photo from Vancouver Sun

The BC SPCA says they have new evidence to forward to Crown council for possible animal cruelty charges, and that it is their obligation to investigate cruelty charges regardless of the cost.

"We don't get to pick and choose what we investigate," said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for BC SPCA. "This cost is absolutely worth it -- we are speaking out for all working animals in B.C."

The investigation is expected to cost $225,000, and will be funded by the BC SPCA, with $100,000 from the provincial government.

A single, fatal gun shot does not constitute animal cruelty, but throat slashing, bludgeoning or multiple gun shot wounds when the first is not fatal do, Moriarty said at a news conference in Whistler.

Moriarty would not say if guns or knives were found at the site.

The results of the investigation will help the thousands of sled dogs working in B.C., Moriarty said.

"Only by fully investigating these allegations can we send a clear message that we are a humane society where brutality and violence against animals will not be tolerated," Moriarty said. "To ignore such allegations was not an option."

Photo from Vancouver Sun

In this case, physical evidence is necessary to proceed with charges, Moriarty said.

Penalties for animal cruelty can be up to five years in jail and can include a lifetime ban from owning animals, Moriarty said.

She said the investigation took an emotional toll on everyone who worked on the case, including forensic scientists, veterinarians and animal cruelty specialists.

It will take several weeks, or even months before the necropsies are complete, said Moriarty, who has been in Whistler for the past week at the grave site.

The excavation took longer than expected because the grave site was hard to find, because it was covered in garbage and debris.

以下略 ~Omission~

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Vancouver Sunより。

The results of the excavation of the grave of the estimated 100 sled dogs slaughtered a year ago won't be known now until Sunday after the SPCA postponed today's press conference.

"As the excavation and sifting of the top layers of the grave is still continuing today and tomorrow and we likely won’t have anything new to report by tomorrow. When we set out the tentative line up of press updates we weren’t sure how long it would take to excavate the grave but the work is still continuing on the top layer digging," said SPCA spokesperson Lori Chortyk.

She said hopefully by Sunday all the work at the grave site will have been completed. The dig had been delayed by three days after the search warrant was obtained Sunday because investigators first had to clear "massive debris" such as wooden dog houses, fallen tree branches and hay that had been tossed on top of the mass grave.

Ellie's Pray

For those people and animals who had to lost their live after unreasonable suffering.....

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