News » Whistler

Joey Houssian 'horrified' by post-Olympic dog cull

RCMP and BC SPCA continue to investigate killing of 100 sled dogs



Outdoor Adventures Whistler owner Joey Houssian said he was horrified when he learned about the execution-style death of 100 sled dogs used by his company.

"Like everyone we were shocked and horrified when we learned of the details in the WCB document last week," said 29-year-old Houssian by email Wednesday.

"Myself and members of our company are part of the very fabric of this community and we know that (we) will get through this difficult time. We would ask that everyone be patient as the details of this incident and investigation emerge."

Houssian said it was his understanding that the dogs, which were to be euthanized, were either sick, old or ineligible for adoption. And he said he believed it would be done humanely.

"We also knew that we had found homes for many other healthy dogs throughout Canada. Specifically BC, Alberta and Ontario," said Houssian.

"I did not know anything about the manner in which the dogs were euthanized until I read it in the WCB report a few days ago. Apart from what the WCB was told by the claimant we understand the number of dogs euthanized was substantially less than 100 and again our understanding was that any euthanizations would be conducted in a humane way."

Houssian declined to be interviewed directly.

The son of Joe Houssian, founder of Intrawest, is caught in a maelstrom of information about the cull, which is believed to be the largest in Canada.

The story broke Monday when media outlets reported that the general manager and a former owner of Howling Dog Tours, a subcontractor to OAW, shot scores of sled dogs to death or slit their throats. The killing did not go smoothly as the dogs panicked. Many had to be shot more than once and some were put in a mass grave while still alive.

The "massacre," as the SPCA called it, was described in WorkSafeBC documents as part of a claim to the Workers Compensation Board for compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the 38-year-old man. He is not currently working due to work-related injuries.

The cull, according to the documents, was due to a post-Olympic slow down in business. At the time of the cull, Howling Dog Tours had over 350 dogs.

Pique has made several attempts to contact the former general manager and his lawyer. In a comment on a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder forum he claimed that he was driven to shoot the dogs due to pressure from OAW to cut costs.

Late Wednesday night he sent out a joint statement with Houssian. (Please see related web story)