Opinion » Editorial


More questions than answers in dog deaths



It has been a gut-wrenching week for Whistler.

With one of the community's greatest achievements, the 2010 Games, being linked to the alleged killing of 100 sled dogs no one has been left untouched.

The suggestion that a company would build up capacity to prepare for the Games only to find it has way too much stock post-event is hardly a new story when it comes to mega events. But when the stock is a living thing and the solution is shooting or slitting an animal's throat the reality is hard to take.

We hear of human tragedy every day but somehow it's the story of the blue-eyed, fluffy-tailed dog being repeatedly shot or slashed to death that has left us shaking.

It's hard to understand. Above all else Whistler takes care of its community members. This would not have been the first time that Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) helped to place scores of dogs.

Many in the community are now asking themselves how we can make sure that something like this can't happen here. And that is important.

But the community also has to deal with the here and now as the headlines of this atrocity have the capacity to impact Whistler's continued success.

Sure, many visitors will differentiate between one man's action and a whole resort, but part of that reasoning will be based on how the community responds.

Leaders have to speak out: the world needs to understand in no uncertain terms that the slaughter as described by the killer in documents used to get himself worker's compensation is abhorrent to Whistler.

We are a dog-loving town. Many of our hotels welcome their four-legged friends, some offering special pet-get-away packages.

There's no doubt that sledding companies are going to feel an impact.

They were quick to reach out to the media this week with invitations to come see how they work, to see how well their animals are kept to try and make sure that the industry as a whole isn't painted with the same brush.

But will it be enough?

What's going to happen to all those employees, what's going to happen to the remaining sled dogs if business drops off too much?

The story is a stone in our pond. The ripples are spreading out now beyond the initial disbelief.

It's in the media in Australia, Europe, the U.S. and beyond.

A Facebook site calling for a boycott of the company involved, Whistler Outdoor Adventures, now has tens of thousands of members.