About 40 people, many with canines in tow, braved the elements Sunday to register their outrage with the 2010 killing of about 100 sled dogs in Whistler.
The group began at Penticton Secondary School and made their way through the wind and rain quietly down Main Street to Gyro Park where a brief gathering took place.
“This is a memoriam to those dogs that got slaughtered, I can’t think of another word because it sure wasn’t euthanasia,” said walk organizer Robyn Beckman. “It’s also a tragedy how they got slain, that really rips my heart out.”
The mass cull described as “execution-style” was done by an employee of the Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures and sparked an investigation by both the SPCA and the police.
There were reports the shooting of the dogs came as a result of a slow down in business although others involved with the company maintained it was a health issue with the animals.
The matter came to light recently in part through the successful WorkSafeBC claim for post-traumatic stress by the employee.
“There’s a whole lot of issues about cruelty, and now this one tops my list,” said Beckman “I just can’t believe the dogs were alive and were crawling out of the pit (after being shot). That is disgusting. If the guy didn’t know how to do it properly he shouldn’t have done it at all.
“There were other dogs standing around watching this, and I don’t care what anybody says, dogs understand death and I’m sure they were terrified.”
She acknowledged the canines were not bred to be house pets, but suggested farm owners or rescue organizations would have stepped in to help.
“I mean, gee, horses are taken care of forever after they stop racing,” said Beckman. “That whole thing was just so ugly.”
Joy Lang and her pooch were among the participants in the rally.
“I’m doing this because I’m a dog lover obviously, I’ve got one here and I really feel bad about the sled dogs and what happened to them,” said Lang. “I’m upset about any place that doesn’t look after their animals, and as far as I’m concerned these dogs were murdered.”
The two women agreed charges should be brought against the individuals and the company responsible. and both will be lending their voices to the many others who feel the same.