B.C. sled dog killer pleads guilty

Robert Fawcett, charged with causing unnecessary pain and suffering in connection to the deaths of...

Robert Fawcett, charged with causing unnecessary pain and suffering in connection to the deaths of 56 sled dogs in Whistler in 2010 has pled guilty in Provincial Court in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday August 30, 2012. (QMI Agency/CARMINE MARINELLI)

MICHAEL MUI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

VANCOUVER - The former general manager of Whistler, B.C.’s Howling Dog Tours has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge after killing 56 sled dogs after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Robert Fawcett was charged after he filed a worker’s compensation claim in 2011, detailing how he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the claim, Fawcett outlined how he was ordered to kill the animals after business slowed following the Games.

The B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals exhumed the remains of 56 sled dogs from a mass grave last year.

“We have handled the remains of the dogs with the utmost respect and dignity, and in seeking justice in this case we hope that they will finally be able to rest in peace,” said Marcie Moriarty, a B.C. SPCA cruelty investigations manager.

The SPCA said Fawcett could face a maximum of five years in jail, up to $75,000 in fines, and a possible lifetime ban on animal ownership.

He is expected to be sentenced Nov. 22 after a psychiatric assessment is completed.

About a dozen animal lovers stood outside the courthouse Thursday, holding signs.

“People have to know that we’ve had enough,” said Ingrid Katzberg, an owner of two dogs and 12 cats.

“We want to have a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Something needs to happen, we want the maximum penalty,” she said. “We have to do something collectively. The more people are against it, the tougher the judges are going to find (it). If they don’t give serious sentences the more opposition they’ll have.”

Defence lawyer Greg Diamond declined comment after court.


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