Ron Judd's take on Northwest people, places and events.
Whistler dog-slaughter suspect publicly defends company
Posted by Ron Judd
Bob Fawcett, the man widely known around Whistler to be the alleged slaughterer of up to 100 sled dogs last spring, has gone public, in a way, along with his employer, as the attempted covering-of-posteriors begins.
In a statement, Fawcett and Outdoor Adventures Whistler, the dog-sled operator's parent company, contend that "considerable efforts" were made to adopt the dogs before they were, Fawcett later claimed, shot, knifed and buried in a mass grave in April.
Fawcett revealed the horrific account of his killing of the dogs -- which he claimed was ordered by superiors after business slowed down following the 2010 Winter Olympics --to justify his own subsequent mental-health claim to pay for traumatic stress treatment.
Fawcett, former manager of Howling Dog Tours, and Outdoor Adventures of Whistler, which contracted with Howling Dog for sled dog tours, now have issued a statement listing their areas of agreement about the notorious incident, which is being investigated by the province of British Columbia and the B.C. SPCA. The full text:
Outdoor Adventures at Whistler Ltd. and former General Manager, Howling Dog Tours Whistler Inc. agree to the following:
1. The number of dogs euthanized by Mr. Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett advised Mr. Houssian in mid-April 2010 that he was estimating 50 dogs would be euthanized.
2. The condition of the dogs euthanized by Mr. Fawcett. In mid April, 2010 Mr. Fawcett advised Mr. Houssian that the dogs to be euthanized were "too old" or "sick" and "not adoptable". These dogs live to "run" and were not able to do so and would have had to be kept in cages with the result that they would have had very poor or virtually no quality of life.
3. The efforts made to arrange for dogs to be adopted. Considerable efforts were made to arrange for dogs to be adopted, both before and after mid April, 2010. The efforts at adoption were not as successful as hoped.
4. The instructions given to Mr. Fawcett concerning the manner of euthanizing the dogs. There were no instructions given to Mr. Fawcett as to the manner of euthanizing dogs on this occasion, and Mr. Fawcett was known to have very humanely euthanized dogs on previous occasions.
A couple notes:
The "Mr. Houssian" in question is Joey Houssian, the owner of Outdoor Adventures Whistler, which took over "operational control" of Howling Dog Tours in May, 2010, although it obviously had a management role prior to that. Outdoor Adventures claims improvements in the operation have been made under its management, and that any dogs euthanized now are taken to a veterinarian.
Even though his previous postings on various Internet message sites suggested Fawcett, 38, was the man in question, his name has been kept out of media coverage of the incident because he's undergoing mental-health treatment, and because he said he and others connected with the Whistler tour company have received death threats. He essentially publicly identified himself in the joint statement.
Also reported today by the Whistler Question: Fawcett, incredibly, until this week served on the board of directors of Mush with P.R.I.D.E. -- an Alaska-based organization comprised of mushers "concerned about the care of sled dogs and public perceptions of mushing," according to the group's website.
To no one's surprise, a statement on that website today said Fawcett has been summarily removed from the board.
"We are shocked and saddened to hear that one of Mush with P.R.I.D.E.'s Board members is being implicated in the mass killing of sled dogs in Whistler, British Columbia," said Karen Ramstead, the group's president. "The Board has passed a motion to remove Bob Fawcett from the Board of Mush with P.R.I.D.E. immediately."
"Euthanasia should not be used for population control and what happened in this case is simply unacceptable. No responsible sled dog owner or caregiver treats dogs in this manner. Please bear with us as we struggle to come to terms with this horrid situation."
The topic continues to be a hot-button in Whistler, where police today warned against hostile threats made against people connected with the dog-mushing business. The RCMP issued a statement today warning that "graphic threats" being made against Outdoor Adventures employees could be a crime.