The deaths of up to 100 dogs near Whistler have generated major donations to charities that are committed to caring for animals.
Paula Del Bosco, executive director of WAG, Whistler's animal shelter, said that the organization helped draw $17,500 in donations from an event called "For the Love of Dogs" at Moe Joe's nightclub last Friday.
The event, sponsored by the Kokanee beer company, cost $10 to get in, giving attendants a free beer once they arrived. The event was completely sold out and it raised approximately $12,500 in donations that will go to WAG and the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). Kokanee kicked in an additional $5,000.
"I'm thrilled at the amazing support we had from the community," Del Bosco said. "People loved it. If they couldn't get into the event, they were dropping money off at the door so they could still partake in some way. It was really inspiring."
Whistler was rocked about two weeks ago by the news that a subcontractor of Outdoor Adventures at Whistler Ltd. had allegedly killed up to 100 dogs in what was called a "post-Olympic cull" as business slowed down after the Games.
Outdoor denies the cull had anything to do with Olympic business and has stated that it was the company's understanding that only 50 or so dogs were being euthanized for quality of life issues.
The incident sparked an outcry and led to the organization of a couple of demonstrations in Whistler accompanied donation drives for organizations such as WAG.
This past weekend a "Dog Walk for Change" organized by Whistler resident Tim Koshul drew approximately 30 people to Skier's Plaza outside the Lululemon store in Whistler Village. Seventeen dogs accompanied them as they walked together to try and show that Whistler is a dog-friendly community.
Koshul said the weather "didn't cooperate" with the event but that it nevertheless raised about $106 that he said will also go to WAG. A petition was also circulated at the event, gathering names to persuade the federal government to make animal cruelty laws more stringent.
"I was happy at the opportunity to show compassion," Koshul said. "The message was successful."
Prior to last weekend, on February 5 a "funeral procession" of sorts was held for the dogs killed last April. Organized by Squamish resident and UBC student Jordan Tesluk, it saw about 70 people and their dogs take a walk throughout Whistler Village starting at the Village Gondola, traversing the Village Stroll and ending with a moment of silence for the dogs at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
That, too, saw donations come to WAG and for that Del Bosco was very appreciative.
"We did have people coming in and doing donations," she said. "I know the gentleman who organized the event came in and made a donation and I definitely saw an increase over the following two to three days, people coming in and dropping off donations and thanking us for all the great work we do."
As for the incident itself, the BC SPCA continues to investigate with the help of the RCMP. On Monday the SPCA obtained a court order asking WorkSafe BC to turn over documents relating to claim for compensation that detailed the killings themselves.
Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA's director of animal cruelty investigations, said the Society is satisfied with the judge's ruling, which gives it documents with the exception of irrelevant information that would have privacy issues.
"At this stage we'll simply be proceeding once we have that information and continuing with that information," she said. "Obviously it's a high priority case and our constables are working on this diligently."