Sled dog killer pleads guilty to animal cruelty 0
B.C. SPCA constables and anthropologists exhume the site of a mass sled dog grave near Whistler in May last year. (BC SPCA PHOTO)
The former general manager of Whistler's Howling Dog Tours pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge Thursday after the B.C. SPCA exhumed the remains of 56 sled dogs from a mass grave last year.
Robert Fawcett is expected to be sentenced in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Nov. 22 after a psychiatric assessment is completed.
He was charged after he filing a Worker's Compensation claim in 2011, detailing how he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the claim, Fawcett outlined how he was ordered to kill the animals after business slowed following the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Ingrid Katzberg, an owner of two dogs and 12 cats, was one of about a dozen animal lovers brandishing signs outside the courthouse.
"People have to know that we've had enough . we want to have a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Something needs to happen, we want the maximum penalty," she said.
"We have to do something collectively. The more people are against it, the tougher the judges are going to find (it). If they don't give serious sentences the more opposition they'll have."
Fawcett and his lawyer remained inside a small room in the courthouse following the hearing for an extended time. Defence lawyer Greg Diamond declined comment.
According to the B.C. SPCA, if convicted, Fawcett faces a maximum of five years in jail, up to $75,000 in fines, and a possible lifetime ban on animal ownership.
"We have handled the remains of the dogs with the utmost respect and dignity, and in seeking justice in this case we hope that they will finally be able to rest in peace," said Marcie Moriarty, B.C. SPCA cruelty investigations manager.
Moriarty added a sled dog memorial and burial is planned Nov. 2 in Penticton. More information will be available on the B.C. SPCA website in October.