The sentence given to Robert Fawcett for his animal cruelty conviction in the case of the slaughter of 56 sled dogs, shows that our justice system still places a low value on the lives and welfare of animals.
Fawcett received three years probation and a fine of $1500 despite being convicted of “causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals” in a case that shocked and outraged people around the world. The maximum penalty for the offence is five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
VHS believes a heavier sentence, including jail time, would have been appropriate and would have sent a signal to the public that animal cruelty is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in our society.
It is equally disappointing that, despite the public outcry over the massacre of the Whistler sled dogs, it is still perfectly legal for sled dog operators to shoot unwanted dogs. It is also still legal for sled dogs to be tethered or chained outdoors for long periods, a practice that is clearly inhumane. While new regulations have been applied to the sled dog industry, no new resources have been made available to the BC SPCA to enforce them.
The B.C. government’s decision to increase the penalties for convictions under the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (prompted by the case), was welcome. However, this does nothing to prevent healthy sled dogs from being shot when they are surplus to an operator’s requirements and there are no homes available for them.
The sad truth is that sled dogs will continue to be commodities open to exploitation for profit by an industry that is not known for putting their welfare first. It should be remembered that Mr. Fawcett was not just some rogue operator or bad apple. He served as vice-president on the board of Mush with Pride, a leading international sled dog industry group, until he was voted off when the Whistler massacre became public knowledge. He was a well-known and leading figure in the sled dog world. Surely, that says something about the industry as a whole.
In our view, dogs should be companions, not commodities. They should only be euthanised when they are too old or too sick to live comfortably – and euthanasia should be by lethal injection carried out by a vet. They should not be left tied to posts for long hours or pushed to their physical limits in races just to entertain people. They should be cherished for their intrinsic value, not their economic value.
8 replies on “No justice for sled dogs”
It both saddens and sickens me that these dogs got absolutely NO justice. It has been said that 9 suffered immeasurably before they dies, finally and this scum plays the courts and walks free? I do not understand the mentality of the judge in this case. I wish animal lovers could ask for and get a re trial. I am thinking this “man” best be watching his back for the next while, he has now made many enemies.
I am disgusted at the outcome of this investigation. The courts have sent the wrong message that treating these animals as such is acceptable. I hope that people will boycott the sled dog companies that use these animals for a source of income not as a mean for survival. Until we stop using animals for our entertainment, these practices will continue.
Very sad day for those fighting for animal rights.
Unbelievable than there should be a law letting the animal lovers take care or punish the abuse killing torture of animals!!!
This is totally disgusting, sled dog like any animal are living breathing creatures of God and deserve a happy long life, not to be treated as commodities. It is a sad world we live in that living creatures can be treated this way and something needs to be done and soon
NOTHING THAT HAS BREATH IN IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A ” COMMODITIES ” THIS IS SO WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS!!! HOW WOULD THEY FEEL IF IT WAS THERE FAMILY TIED OR LEFT IN THE COLD FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME!!! THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!!
This does not surprise me, British Columbia’s justice system has consistently turned a blind eye to animal abuse criminals over the years, giving them light if any sentences. Disgraceful behavior, BC once again falls short.
The world is becoming crazy. Too much people have no respect for anything. Not even life. How can a man being free after doing such atrocities… I don’t get it. What can we do ? We must find something….
This is a disgraceful conclusion to a heart-rending episode…very sad.