Case Update: Sentencing for Mass Sled Dog Killing in B.C.

Robert Fawcett, a Canadian man who pleaded guilty to the brutal slaughter of dozens of sled dogs ordered by his employer in 2010, will not serve jail time:

The maximum sentence under the Criminal Code is five years prison time and up to $75,000 in fines.

Besides three years of probation, [Judge Steve] Merrick ordered Fawcett to pay a $1,500 fine, complete 200 hours community work service, and he may not participate in the sled dog industry or make decisions about euthanizing animals.

The British Columbia SPCA investigated the killings and was displeased with the sentence:

Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the SPCA, said B.C. has adequate animal-cruelty laws but the court system failed.

Fawcett “basically walked away, and he was paid taxpayer dollars in compensation for committing the crime,” Moriarty said.

She acknowledged it’s rare for investigators to criticize rulings, but said the SPCA did its job in this case and “the courts did not.”

“We put forward strong evidence that animals suffered, and that this occurred over a few days,” Moriarty said. “When you look at other animal-cruelty cases in Canada … I think the sentence here is not reflective of what Canadians feel.”

The judge concluded that Mr. Fawcett “had the ‘best interests’ of the dogs at heart” and was mentally unstable at the time of the killings.


19 thoughts on “Case Update: Sentencing for Mass Sled Dog Killing in B.C.

  1. FIRST I DO NOT CONDONE the killing of potentially adoptable dogs but please explain to me how this is any different than what goes on in shelters all across the country? If tis guy got jail time should not the shelter workers who kill thousands?

    1. The only similarity is the death of healthy animals. What this guy did, over DAYS in full view of other animals is beyond reprehensible.

      The fact that he got such a light sentence is disgusting.

    2. How is it different?

      This wasn’t a case of institutionalized, tax-payer funded killing of pets at a disfunctional animal control facility. Rather, what happened here was that a tour company decided that roughly half their sled dogs were redundant, and ordered the one employee left in charge of the facility off-season to see to it. Which he did, over several days, by singularly cruel and inefficient means.

      One of the things that emerged along with news of this, was that the RSPCA was, in fact, not interested in sled dogs, whom they considered livestock and ‘unadoptable’ into pet homes.

      Overall, legally, this situation has a lot more in common with dude ranches, riding academies and racing stables dumping their ‘redundant’ horses off-season at auction, in the full knowledge that most of them will be shipped to slaughter.

  2. “…best interests of the dogs at heart…”, then “…mentally unstable…” Sounds like an oxymoron, to me. This creep needs to be harnessed to a dog sled and run for miles on end. THAT would be a good punishmnet.

      1. Right. They suffered no legal consequences, closed the Whistler operation – which was unprofitable anyway, and given the case unlikely to ever recover – and supposedly instituted new policies, which require that ‘redundant’ dogs be ‘euthanized humanely’ at a licensed vet clinic.

        Prior to the massacre, by the way, a local vet refused to kill the dogs because they were healthy. So I have to wonder just how effective that change in policy is going to be, especially since the law permits other means. Myself, I think it’s just so much PR eyewash. Along with the proposal to turn the Whistler operation into a non-profit sanctuary, which seems to have gone nowhere.

        There have been proposals for amendments to law to improve the status of sled dogs and increase categories and penalties for cruelty, but so far as I’ve read, nothing has come of them.

      2. I noticed a reference to some updated law to protect sled dogs but a Google search turned up nothing.

        On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM, YesBiscuit!

      3. That’s it. There was a lot of talk about changes etc., but whenever I’ve tried to find specifics, I come up empty.

  3. From the article :

    She, too, described how Fawcett suffered death threats, had a mental breakdown that sent him to an institution for two months and even had his young children and wife forced into hiding.
    Is there a good reason to terrorize his kids and wife ? Did they have anything to do with it?

    I wonder how compassionate people such as yourselves feel about that?

    1. Death threats are never acceptable, under any circumstances, to anyone. As I’ve said numerous times and will continue to repeat as often as necessary.

      On Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:23 PM, YesBiscuit!

      1. That’s good to know but apparently someone just isn’t getting the message.

        Frankly, I see no reason to EVER send children into hiding for fear of their lives. People should be ashamed of themselves. On both sides of this case.

      2. There will always be nutters at the fringe of any movement. It does not mean the overwhelming majority of peaceful pet advocates need to be ashamed. Everyone must take personal responsibility for their own behavior.

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