Whistler Sled Dog Slaughter

I, of course, agree with the unanimous public opinion that is thundering around the Internet that the slaughter of 100 sled dogs in Whistler last April was inhumane and deplorable.

The lastest news seems to be that the company, Howling Dogs Tours which is owned by Outdoor Adventures, made “considerable” effort to have the dogs adopted but was unsuccessful. The dogs were, apparantly, old and sickly with no prospect of pulling sleds anymore or even running, giving them poor quality of life.

As well, the company contends that while owners gave instructions to euthanize, they didn’t specify the method but believed then-general manager Robert Fawcett had a record of humane, legal euthanizations (is that the noun?), so assumed he would carry out these euthanizations in the same manner.

Robert Fawcett has been fired as vice president of Mush With Pride, an international dogsledders’ organization. That group says it was not contacted by Fawcett regarding potential dog adoptions.

This company is in public relations hell. It will never recover. There is nothing it can do or say that will restore its credibility in Whistler or anywhere. It is, as blogger Justine Sanford says in her blog, this incident is the BP oil spill of the dog sledding world.

That being said, I think it is wise of Outdoor Adventures to give daily updates on its website of any new information that comes to light. It couldn’t possibly respond to all discussions or comments on social media — there are millions. Further, it shouldn’t try to respond as it would look like it was trying to justify its actions. The company must come totally clean with what happened. All information will eventually come to light in the ensuing investigations, so the company should spill now so it doesn’t look like it was hiding any information.



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2 responses to “Whistler Sled Dog Slaughter

  1. Hey Victoria,

    I agree that this situation is a public relations nightmare for most companies. And I being a animal lover myself, was at the point of getting sick when I heard the story.
    Do you think that because the new owners of OWA (I think that’s their abbreviation) didn’t take over until after the incident occurred that the public might go a little easier on them?

    • I’m unclear on this point because I’ve read reports that say OAW knew of the plan to kill the dogs before it actually happened, which would have been before they took over.

      Well, regardless of the ownership timeline, I believe that the public will not go easier on the company. Perhaps this is unfair, but that is the nature of public opinion: guilty by association.

      What do you think?

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