As this story comes to light, the Dog Files will continue to cover this tragedy as best we can, even when we find out such disappointing news as this.
BY KIM PEMBERTON For The VANCOUVER SUN
Officials say they didn’t know 100 unadoptable animals would be brutally slaughtered
The Vancouver Sun has learned the 38-year-old employee of Outdoor Adventures who killed 100 sled dogs in Whistler approached the BC SPCA on two separate occasions asking for its help in finding adoptive homes for some of the company’s dogs.
Both times he was rebuffed. Officials at the animal protection agency said they didn’t realize the dogs would be brutally slaughtered. But they said they told the man the dogs would not make good pets and were not adoptable.
Senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever confirmed she was contacted last spring by the man, but can’t recall if it was in April or May. The cull happened on April 21 and April 23, 2010.
She said she first learned of the cull last Friday when a WorkSafeBC report providing details of the “execution-style” killings of the sled dogs became public. The report said they were destroyed for economic reasons.
“What happened last spring is contacted me and complained about some of the conditions of the dogs and I was supposed to go up there and check.”
“I spoke to the owner Joey Houssian and he provided me with a copy of the veterinarian’s report.”
She said she was satisfied with the vet’s report and did not feel it was necessary to go to Whistler and do an on-site inspection herself.
” didn’t advise me he was going to kill any dogs. He was looking to find homes. I spoke to an animal behaviourist who is also a vet and she spoke with an expert in the States who said weren’t adoptable,” said Drever.
Asked if she told the man the SPCA would not help place the dogs last spring she answered, “I believe so.”
The Sun is withholding the man’s identity because of his apparent fragile mental state, after it was disclosed publicly this week that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder arising from the mass cull — believed to be Canada’s largest cull of dogs.
The second time the man approached the SPCA was through an email dated Sept. 10, 2010 — nearly five months after the cull — asking if the SPCA would take some of the remaining dogs in the pack, which before the cull numbered about 350.
The Sun has obtained a copy of that documentation, which states: “I understood from Joey that there were to be some dogs going to you for adoption? Is that indeed happening? Or should I just show up with a truck full so they can get off the chain and get some attention, exercise, stop fighting, etc….I am happy to bring some down to stop cruelty they are going through here.
“This is me as a bystander (I am off due to injury to both arms). I am the only one who has made any effort to move dogs. We still have almost 60 dogs too many, and a new litter of pups to be given away. Can you please give me a call so I know something can be done. It’s breaking my heart.”
Drever replied five days later, apologizing for taking so long to respond as she had not been in the office.
In her email, dated Sept. 15, 2010, she wrote: “I just informed Joey that after consulting with an animal behaviourist/ veterinarian we have reached the decision these dogs are not adoptable. I will however conduct an inspect of the facility.”
Drever did not end up doing the inspection in the fall. However, she did go on Tuesday along with two other SPCA animal cruelty investigators to look into the deaths of the 100 sled dogs in April. She said it was not necessary to take the remaining 150 dogs into protection.
BC SPCA head of animal cruelty Marcie Moriarty said the SPCA would have acted had it known the dogs were going to be slaughtered.
But she added it’s not the SPCA’s responsibility “to take on their issues … to suddenly make a phone call and say, ‘I have 100 dogs that need placing;’ that’s not an answer to their business operation’s issues,” said Moriarty.
“If we had any indication they would have been executed we absolutely would have done something.” But she added it’s likely they would have still been euthanized.
“What people have to realize because of the way they’re raised they’re not highly adoptable animals. Maybe a few could have been adopted but these dogs are on tethers 90 per cent of their lives. Is it fair profits — get thousands of dollars from tourists and not have a retirement plan? Is it fair they would dump them on the SPCA and then we’d have the pain of that euthanization?”
Houssian and Graham Aldcroft, the spokesman for Outdoor Adventures, did not return repeated phone calls for comment Tuesday.
In an earlier statement, Aldcroft said: “Outdoor Adventures understood there was to be a relocation and the potential euthanization of dogs and the expectation was that would happen in a proper and legal and humane manner.”