News » Whistler

Joey Houssian 'horrified' by post-Olympic dog cull

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

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Calls have also been made to regulate the dog sledding industry. (see related story p. 16)

"In the weeks that follow, the BC SPCA will also be conducting a thorough review of the apparent lack of regulation in the sled dog industry and will forward its recommendations to the provincial government in due course," said BC SPCA's chief executive officer Craig Daniell , in a statement.

"I have been assured by the Minister of Agriculture, Ben Stewart, that the provincial government will consider any recommendations made by the BC SPCA."

Paula Del Bosco, executive director of WAG said she was unaware that the sled dogs needed re-housing.

"Had we know that these animals were in need of re-homing, I am certain that between ourselves, the Whistler community, SPCA and the other rescues we could have found homes for many of them," she said. "WAG has worked with dog sled companies, including Whistler Outdoor Adventures, in re-homing their dogs."

For Grant Lamont, Whistler's acting mayor, the incident is disgusting and shocking. It brings back decade-old memories of Helmut Banka, a recluse who was found raising dogs in a kennel at the base of Wedge Mountain.

"We were mountain bike riding and we came across this huge dog enclosure with this huge wolf-husky cross guarding it," said Lamont. "There were dog skeletons everywhere from neglect."

Lamont contacted bylaw services at the Resort Municipality of Whistler. In 1995, with a representative from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks in tow, municipal employees lugged five gallons of diesel to the property on the backs of snowmobiles. They released the dogs from the kennels, doused the property in gas and lit it up.

"It just goes to show that there's still a world full of boneheads out there who don't give a damn about animals and just the money," Lamont said. "We've seen how successful (we've been) in the past year and a half, how we dealt with the animals at Mount Currie, how with coordination with the SPCA and along with WAG and the Lil'wat we were able to find homes and relocate a lot of the animals.

"I really struggle to see whether the due diligence was done, I think that will come out in the investigation."

With the incident gone viral, dog sled operations in Whistler have gone into full damage control mode. Canadian Snowmobile Adventures, which operates snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and dogsled tours in the Callaghan Valley, contacted Pique on Monday morning saying it works very hard to take care of its dogs.