The 56 sled dogs at the heart of a tragic animal cruelty case will be laid to rest on Nov. 2 at the B.C. SPCA’s pet cemetery near Penticton.
The discovery of the mass killing at a Whistler-based sled dog tour company in 2011 sparked international outrage and launched the largest animal cruelty investigation in B.C. SPCA history. Last year the B.C. SPCA prepared a file for Crown counsel with more than a thousand pages of evidence against Bob Fawcett, the former general manager of Howling Dog Tours. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August 2012 and will be sentenced in late November.
Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA, said the remains of the animals were handled with the utmost respect during the investigation.
“Unfortunately, it was necessary to exhume the bodies from the mass grave in order to gather the forensic evidence needed to submit charges, but we were always very aware of our responsibility to treat the remains of the dogs with great care,” said Moriarty. “This was a heartbreaking case, but now that a guilty plea has been rendered and justice is being served we hope that these beautiful animals can now finally rest in peace.”
She said the SPCA chose its pet cemetery near Penticton as the final resting place for the animals because of the beauty of the area and because the story touched people from around the province. “This wasn’t just a Whistler story. It was a story that touched the hearts of every person across B.C. who loves animals.”
The B.C. SPCA is planning a small gathering of remembrance on Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the B.C. SPCA Pet Cemetery on White Lake Road (at Partington Drive) south of Penticton. Anyone wishing to pay their respects to the Whistler dogs is invited to join B.C. SPCA representatives on Nov. 2, or to post a message in memory of the slain dogs at facebook.com/bcspcaor via twitter at #WhistlerSledDogs.