Latent Justice for Sled Dogs? How a Workers Compensation Claim Enhanced Animal Cruelty Laws

A renowned team of forensic experts have come together to exhume a mass grave in British Columbia where the bodies of 100 sled dogs were buried last year after the company that owned them ordered their murders due to slumping tourism.

The B.C. SPCA announced it had enlisted a all-star team of specialists to lead the investigation to determine if there is enough evidence for an animal cruelty case against the owners of the dogs.

Details of the two-day slaughter, which occurred in April, 2010, became publicized in January when the tour operator who carried out the killings filed a worker’s compensation claim saying he suffered post-traumatic stress from shooting and slitting the throats of 100 dogs.

The man said he was ordered to kill the sled dogs by his bosses after tourism in the Whistler ski area dropped off.  He told authorities he dumped the bodies – some still alive- in a mass grave north of Whistler.

Twenty-six forensic specialists will examine the dogs’ remains and gather evidence.   The group of experts is made up of veterinarians, archaeologists and anthropologists from across North America.

The government in British Columbia has already taken action and increased the penalties for animal cruelty in the province, established mandatory standards for sled-dog operators and increased funding for the SPCA.  Further, the government has provided $100,000 for the current investigation.  The SPCA says the entire cost is estimated at more than $225,000.

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