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Exclusive: Suspected dog slaughterer sacked


An international organization representing sled dog mushers fired a Whistler man from his volunteer position Wednesday because he is suspected of slaughtering 100 healthy huskies.

The board of Kenai, Alaska-headquartered Mush With PRIDE (Providing Responsible Information on a Dog' Environment) voted to oust vice-president Robert Fawcett. Fawcett was operations manager of Outdoor Adventures Whistler subsidiary Howling Dog Sled Tours.

"Euthanasia should not be used for population control and what happened in this case is simply unacceptable," said a statement on the Mush with PRIDE website. "No responsible sled dog owner or caregiver treats dogs in this manner."

President Karen Ramstead, a musher who owns the North Wapiti Siberian Husky Kennels in Athabasca, Alta., told QMI she is "shocked and horrified" at the massacre, which happened over two days last April. The incident attracted global media attention and outrage after a Vancouver radio station revealed Monday that a man suffering post-traumatic stress disorder received compensation because he conducted a mass dog cull after the 2010 Winter Olympics. Slow winter business was cited in the WorkSafeBC report.

Ramstead said she notified Fawcett of the decision by email on Wednesday morning. She had yet to receive a reply and did not expect one. She said Fawcett never contacted Mush with PRIDE to seek new homes for the animals he is suspected of eventually shooting and knifing.

"We certainly aren't assigning no guilt to Mr. Fawcett," she said. "Details are still to be sorted out in the situation, but we felt the attention brought to Mush with PRIDE through this story is not putting us in a light that we want for our organization."

Ramstead said existing animal welfare laws should be sufficient to regulate kennels and rejects calls to ban dogsledding.

"There are many of us out there who are doing the sport in a humane and responsible manner," said Ramstead, a veteran of Alaska's Iditarod sled dog race. "To paint us all with a brush based on one situation is an overreaction."