The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says the sentence given to Bob Fawcett, who killed 56 sled dogs in April 2010, is a travesty and does not reflect the level of public concern about the treatment of animals in B.C. Fawcett was today sentenced in B.C. provincial court to three years probation and received a $1500 fine for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals.
“The sentence should have included jail time,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “A jail sentence would have sent a message to the public that animal cruelty is a serious crime that society will not tolerate.” The maximum penalty for Fawcett’s offence under the Criminal Code is five years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.
Fricker said 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 VHS says is 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 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,” said Fricker. “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.”
*SOURCE: Vancouver Humane Society