Warning: This story contains content that may be disturbing to some readers
British Columbia SPCA are calling the alleged killing of 100 sled dogs in Whistler one of the “most sickening things” they’ve ever come across.
A criminal code investigation is currently underway after the SPCA learned through a CKNW report Friday that 100 dogs at Howling Dog Tours Whistler, owned and run by Outdoor Adventures Whistler since May, were allegedly slaughtered in April 2010 after dog-sled tour bookings plummeted in the wake of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The source of the shocking revelation comes from an employee of the company, who filed a report with WorkSafe B.C. for post-traumatic stress disorder after killing the dogs.
“It’s a horrible, horrible case,” said SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk. “The description in the WorkSafe report is one of the most sickening things I’ve ever read.”
Chortyk says the company resorted to allegedly slaughtering the dogs after a veterinarian refused to put down the perfectly healthy sled dogs.
According to the reports provided by CKNW, the scene was “a nightmare” as dogs were shot in plain view of each other over two days.
The review decision from the Worker’s Compensation Board, dated January 25, says the employee worked at Outdoor Adventures Whistler for many years.
He spent those years raising and tending to the dogs and grew emotionally attached to many of them.
Attempts were made to adopt the dogs out, but to little success so the employee was ordered to kill 100 of them April 21 and 23, 2010.
“The worker had raised many of the dog he had to euthanize from birth, named them and developed a strong emotional bond of mutual love and trust with them,” the report says.
The employee began shooting the dogs one by one, and by the 15th kill it was obvious “the dogs were experiencing anxiety and stress” from watching the bloodshed.
Some of the dogs were not instantly killed by the first shot, and the employee either had to shoot them again or slit their throats with a knife.
Some wounded dogs ran away and needed to be chased down.
By the end of the first day, 55 dogs had been killed.
Things only got worse April 23.
Fear and anxiety among the dogs set in immediately and the worker had to wrestle with the dogs to put them down.
The dogs were dumped into mass graves, according to the SPCA.
“He wanted nothing more than to stop the ‘nightmare’ but he continued because he had been given a job to finish,” the report continues. “By the end, he was covered in blood.”
Since the horrific incident, the employee has suffered from panic attacks, nightmares, sleep disturbances, anger, irritability and a depressed mood, according to a clinical assessment.
Because of the length of time that’s passed since the incident, the Workers Compensation Board report has been the focus of the SPCA investigation.
It could take months before any charges are laid.
“It’s not illegal to kill your own animals, but it has to be done in a humane way,” said Chortyk. “Based on the circumstances described in the document, this was far, far from being humane.”
Metro has contacted Outdoor Adventures Whistler through phone and email, but has not been able to reach the company for comment.