The man who, by his own count and admission, killed at least 70 sled dogs — some of which lingered in pain after he shot and slashed them — was sentenced to three years probation yesterday in British Columbia.
Robert Fawcett, 40, said the sled dog tour company he managed in Whistler ordered the cull, which came to light after Fawcett filed a workmen’s compensation claim stating that carrying out the orders had caused him post traumatic stress disorder.
As part of an investigation, 54 dogs were unearthed and examined, though estimates were that as many as 100 were involved.
Yesterday, Judge Steve Merrick ruled that Fawcett had the “best interests” of the dogs at heart when he culled the pack near Whistler after a slump in business following the 2010 Olympic Games, the Globe and Mail reports.
Fawcett was not charged with killing the animals — that’s, unfortunately, legal — but with “causing unnecessary pain and suffering” to nine of the animals, namely those that lingered after he wounded them, and, in some cases, were thrown into graves before they died.
Graphic testimony at Thursday’s hearings left some in tears, and Judge Merrick’s ruling was slammed by the British Columbia SPCA.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the BC-SPCA, said Fawcett “basically walked away,” and, through his injury claim, “he was paid taxpayer dollars in compensation for committing the crime.”
“We put forward strong evidence that animals suffered, and that this occurred over a few days,” Moriarty said. “When you look at other animal-cruelty cases in Canada … I think the sentence here is not reflective of what Canadians feel.”
The defense recommended no jail time for Fawcett, who they noted was carrying out orders when he began culling the herd at Howling Dog Tours, the owners of which had put an “absolute freeze” on spending.
In a statement, read in court, Fawcett described killing Susie, who was the mother of his family’s dog. He described what he called “execution-style” killings, in which he wrestled some of the dogs to the ground and stood on them with one foot to shoot them. He described one dog who survived the first bullet, and how he had to climb into the grave in which he had tossed the dog to finish the killing.
“I will never stop feeling guilty for the suffering that the dogs endured that day. I feel like part of me died with those dogs,” Fawcett’s defense lawyer, Greg Diamond, quoted his client as saying.
The defense supplied a list of 30 character references to the judge that described Fawcett’s dedication to the dogs.
The prosecution didn’t push for the maximum sentence — five years in prison — and noted Fawcett had no criminal record. Crown lawyers emphasized that he was charged in connection with the suffering of only nine of the dogs, not with the mass euthanization.
“Many dogs suffered from the reckless acts of Mr. Fawcett. However, it’s important to bear in mind that he has not been convicted of and is not being sentenced for euthanizing sled dogs generally,” said Crown lawyer Nicole Gregoire. “This is not a sentencing of the sled dog industry, or a discussion of the morality of the euthanization of sled dogs. The fact is that whether the court and the public like it or not, it is lawful to euthanize animals.”
The killings occurred in April, 2010. The bodies of the dogs were exhumed, after the ground thawed, in May, 2011. They were reburied at a memorial ceremony earlier this month.
(Photo: By Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, british columbia, buried, canada, charges, claim, company, compensation, cull, dogs, euthanasia, exhumed, howling dog, investigation, pain, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, probation, robert fawcett, sentence, shot, slashed, sled dogs, spca, suffering, three years, touring, tours, whistler, workers, workmens
Elena Zakharova says her dog Umka deserves to be compensated like a human for her pain and suffering.
And the lawsuit she’s filed in a New York court seeks just that.
Zakharova says an upper East Side pet store sold her a Brussels Griffon with bad knees and hips, which she believes are a result of a congenital disorder.
She’s seeking, in addition to payment for Umka’s suffering, compensation for her vet bills, expected to soon amount to $8,000, according to the New York Daily News.
She and her lawyer contend that even though state law defines pets as ”property,” they are more than that, and they should be compensated accordingly.
“Pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property,” said Zakharova’s lawyer, Susan Chana Lask. “Umka feels love and pain like any human being whose pain and suffering would be recognized in a court.”
Umka is not covered by New York State’s “Puppy Lemon Law,” which allows buyers to return a sick animal in 14 days. Umka’s problems didn’t surface for six months — not until she was nearly eight months old.
Umka was two-months old when Zakharova purchased her for $1,650.
Despite extensive surgery, vets have told Zakharova the dog will never walk or run properly.
“Umka suffers a disorder causing her pain, her legs hurt, she cries when she is in pain, she drags herself with her front paws, she cannot run like other puppies,” the lawsuit says.
The store Umka came from, Raising Rover in Carnegie Hill was among those a Humane Society investigation last year revealed was buying animals from puppy mills.
It is now under new management. “I know nothing about the sale. The prior owner has all the records. We are very careful about where we get our puppies,” said owner Ben Logan.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeding, brussels griffon, compensation, congenital, disorders, dogs, elena zakharova, genetic, health, hips, joints, knees, law, lawsuit, legal, lemon law, pain, pet stores, pets, puppy mills, raising rover, suffering, susan chana lask, umka
A federal judge in Camden, N.J. yesterday approved a $24 million settlement for owners of dogs and cats who were sickened or died after eating pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman clears the way for U.S. pet owners with claims to start receiving checks next year, the Associated Press reported. Pet owners have until Nov. 24 to file claims.
A Canadian judge has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 3 to determine whether the settlement can also apply in that nation.
The settlement is to compensate owners for the cost of the food, medical and burial expenses for their animals, the value of the animals or the cost of replacement pets, checkups for animals who ate the food but did not get sick, replacing carpets ruined by sick pets, and time the owners took off work to seek treatment for their animals.
Sherrie R. Savett, a lead lawyer for plaintiffs in the case, has said she believes that more than 1,500 animals in the U.S. died after eating the food last year.
Lawyers said that so far, more than 10,000 people have filed claims — seeking an average of $1,500 each. Money left over after all pet owners have been paid, would go to animal-welfare charities. If the fund does not cover all the claims, pet owners would receive less than 100 percent of their claimed losses.
The tainted pet food came to light in March 2007, when dogs and cats began mysteriously getting sick. The culprit was pet food produced under nearly 200 labels â€” much of it by Streetsville, Ontario-based Menu Foods Income Fund.
Most of the food turned out to contain Chinese-made wheat gluten laced with melamine, an industrial chemical.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 15th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cats, claims, compensation, contaminated, dog, dog food, dogs, federal judge, industrial chemicals, lawsuit, melamine, menu foods, news, pet food, sick, tainted