News » Whistler

Houssian vows to continue

Outdoor Adventures owner accepts moral responsibility, but trying to reconcile man he knows with statements in WorkSafe BC documents



Outdoor Adventures Whistler will keep operating despite threats against the business and staff and a drop off in sales.

The company, owned by Joey Houssian, has become the focus of public outrage after being linked to the alleged inhumane killings of up to 100 sled dogs last year.

While the dogsledding operation has ceased operation for the time being, "the rest of Outdoor's activities are open," said Houssian, speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations of the dog killings were made a week ago.

"We have a commitment to a large number of staff, so ... we are going to try and keep our staff working and stay open and as a company we are not planning on closing," he said.

"We are still getting bookings and we are still operating. The outpouring of support has not only been from the public but also from our partners and our suppliers and people continue to be very enthusiastic, standing right behind us and continuing to support us.

"I would like to thank Whistler for the astonishing outpouring of thoughts and goodwill and energy that they have provided me and to the company and to our staff.

"It has truly been overwhelming."

The RCMP are continuing to investigate the threats.

Houssian said while there are still many questions that need to be answered in the investigation into the death of the dogs, he takes moral responsibility.

"I accept moral responsibility for what has happened inside our company and I think it is really important that people understand that," he said.

Last week CKNW Radio in Vancouver ran a story based on documents from a claim for Workers' Compensation. The claim was made by the general manager of Howling Dog Tours Whistler Inc., which at the time of the claim was partly owned by Outdoor Adventures Whistler. In September of 2010 Outdoor Adventures acquired the rest of the company.

The document told a chilling tale of the death by shooting and slashing of up to 100 dogs by the manager, who claimed he was told to get rid of the dogs for economic reasons. They were buried in a mass grave.

The manager, Bob Fawcett, filled in both the claim paperwork and the employer's portion of the paperwork.

There is a discrepancy in the documents about the number of dogs killed.

"The number changes from 70 to a different number," said Houssian.

"Why and how did that happen? That is the focus of a number of investigations right now so I can't really speak to that, but what I can tell you is that I hope that the details written in that document are not true. I truly do from the bottom of my heart."