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
In a poor shanty town in Lima, Peru, a deaf and mute boy is helping dogs, and proving actions speak louder than words ever will.
According to this report, posted on Care2 by Rosemary Underhay, who works with Vida Digna, a Peruvian animal welfare association, they first noticed the boy in a line of people waiting to get medical care for their animals.
“In the line there was a small boy, deaf and unable to speak, who used sign language to tell us we needed to see something urgently,” she writes.
“He disappeared for a while and then returned with a small, cold, miserable puppy covered in an angry, itchy mange and with a nasty, festering wound caused by scalding water, probably thrown at him to scare him away from market stands.”
Every week, the neighbor and the deaf boy were back in the line with the dog, named Milo, so his progress could be checked.
Two months later, as the program came to an end, Milo had completely recovered. By then, many were interested in adopting him. He now lives in a happy home, not far from the boy who helped him.
The boy, meanwhile, continued to bring in other strays in need of help, Vida Digna says.
“We always see him on our programs because he brings us strays. He wants us to give him an injection along with the dogs (the anti-mange injection), and the vet pretends to get ready an enormous syringe.”
Underhay said they don’t know if the boy is in school. Half of all school-age children there are not, because their parents cannot afford it.
“… We always try to make it clear to him that he is changing his world, by turning suffering into happiness,” Underhay wrote.
“We feel that the message is very strong, that people who are living permanently with those terrible constraints still want their animals to be well-cared for. People love their animals. The animals of the poor are often ill-cared for simply for lack of information and money. We teach above all, but provide services at prices most can pay for, even if only bit by bit. That is our work.”
Click this link to make a donation to help provide care for the animals in Peru’s shanty towns.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boy, burned, burns, care, care2, clinic, deaf, dogs, happiness, helps, lima, medical, milo, mute, peru, pets, poverty, rescue, rosemary underhay, scalded, shanty town, shelter, strays, suffering, veterinary, vida digna
In yesterday’s clip from the award-winning documentary “100,000” we met a man named Anibal who — though virtually homeless himself — struggles to feed some of the stray dogs that populate the town of Guayama in Puerto Rico.
In today’s, we meet another man named Anibal, this one a shelter worker who sincerely believes he is doing dogs a favor, too – by killing them.
He lethally injects about 100 a day; sometimes the sick or aggressive ones, sometimes, when there are no more empty kennels, the healthy ones. At Puerto Rico’s other shelters — and there are only a handful — the same holds true.
Across the territory, about 500 dogs are euthanized a day — 92 percent of those that enter shelter, according to the documentary.
All this week on ohmidog! we’ve been featuring the documentary, which looks at dog overpopulation in Puerto Rico and some of the people and organizations — such as Island Dog — that are working to solve the crisis.
“100,000,” directed by Juan Agustin Marquez, depicts the bleak existence stray dogs face on the beaches and streets of Puerto Rico, where they are commonly abandoned and abused and often die slow, cruel deaths.
“That’s why I prefer euthanasia before these animals end up like they really end up,” Anibal Rodriguez explains as he goes about his duties, hoisting another dog from a kennel to be injected. “If this animal hadn’t been picked up … this animal would have died in agony on the streets.”
As he sees it, he’s preventing suffering.
“When I first started working, it was hard. As a human being, one has feelings. I have seen so many abuses cases that I prefer that it’s done through small lethal injection rather than a dog getting brutally killed by a person…
“It’s a job that has to be done.”
(Tomorrow: Director Juan Agustin Marquez accepts an Emmy award, and asks Puerto Ricans to take a pledge)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abuse, anibal rodriguez, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, beaches, documentary, dog, dogs, emmy, euthanasia, euthanize, island dog, juan agustin marquez, killing, lethal injection, neglect, pets, puerto rico, rescues, shelters, stray dogs, strays, street dogs, streets, suffering
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
When she persisted, insisting the pointer needed help and would likely die in flight, she was fired.
Yesterday, her employer, Airport Terminal Services Inc., based in St. Louis, said she would be reinstated, with back pay.
Sally Leible, president of the firm, said Jones actions were courageous and the reaction of some management employees was regrettable. She told the Reno Gazette Journal the incident will be used as “teachable moment” for employees.
On Nov. 15, Jones raised enough of a stink about the suffering dog to get airport police to call Washoe County Regional Animal Services, which took custody of the pointer and provided it with veterinary care. The dog apparently was later shipped to its Texas owner, a hunter who keeps it in a kennel and has it shipped to the places he hunts.
The listless and sore-covered dog was lying in a pet carrier in the cargo area of the airport when Jones first saw it.
“The dog was so weak and torn up. It didn’t look like it could survive the flight,” she told the Gazette Journal.
Jones said her supervisor told her to load the dog on the plane because the animal’s paperwork was in order and its condition wasn’t her concern.
“I was crying,” she said. “I kept saying that dog could not be put on a plane.” She said she was fired on the spot by the supervisor, who yelled “‘That’s it, you’re done, you are out of here, go home.”
Jones is a former blackjack dealer, has three dogs of her own, and once owned a dog grooming service. Even before getting her job back, she said she didn’t regret having taken a stand.
“I loved my job at the airport,” she said. ” … But I just couldn’t turn my back on that dog … My supervisor said it wasn’t my concern, but animal abuse is everyone’s concern who sees it.”
(Photo: Lynn Jones with her three dogs, Junior, Manny and Jewel, from left; by Marilyn Newton / Reno Gazette Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airport, airport police, airport terminal services, baggage handler, cargo, condition, dog, fired, flight, hunter, hunting dog, injured, job, lynn jones, pointer, reinstatated, reno, suffering, tahoe, washoe county regional animal services
Electric shock collars have been banned in Wales.
Under the ban — the first in the UK – owners who zap their dogs for misbehaving face a fine of up to £20,000 or six months in prison.
Around 500,000 electric collars are in use in the UK, including some 20,000 in Wales, the Daily Mail reported.
Pet welfare groups, including the RSPCA and the Kennel Club, say the electronic devices cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and that they’d like to see the ban extended across Britain.
Proponents of the collars say they can improve the behavior of dogs that would otherwise be put down, train excitable pets to stop running into traffic and stop them from worrying sheep or inflicting other damage. Banning the collars, they say, could lead to shelters being inundated with unmanageable pets.
The RSPCA counters that, rather than using pain and punishment to train dogs, pet owners should use rewards such as treats and balls. It called The Welsh Assembly’s decision “a historic day for animal welfare.”
“‘Wales has proven it is truly leading the way,” Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said, “and we hope the rest of the UK will follow by example to outlaw these cruel and unnecessary devices.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, banned, behavior, cats, collars, correcting, dogs, electric, electric collar, electric shock collar, electronic, fines, illegal, kennel club, news, ohmidog!, pain, pets, prison, punishment, rspca, shelters, shock, suffering, training, uk, wales, welsh, zap
A proposal to limit the use of electric shock collars for dog training is being rewritten and the new version will totally ban use of the devices in Wales.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said more than half the responses received during a period of public comment favored a total ban, according to the BBC.
Jones called for the ban on electric shock collars, mats and leads because of concerns that pets were suffering. Manufacturers have said they were “puzzled and disappointed” by the decision.
In a statement, Jones said those commenting on the proposal included dog trainers, vets, manufacturers of the devices and members of the public.
It’s expected to take about three months for the ban to take effect.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accessories, animal, ban, behavior, collar, devices, dog, dogs, electric, england, law, leads, mats, pets, proposal, shock, shock collar, suffering, training, uk, wales