Aug 30, 2012 / 8:36 pm
A man charged with the slaughter of more than 50 sled dogs near Whistler, has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge two years after the bodies were dug up from a mass grave near the ski resort town.
Former sled dog operator Robert Fawcett, who showed up sporting a short haircut and wearing a mismatched brown suit, entered his plea while standing next to his lawyer in a North Vancouver court Thursday.
He was charged with causing unnecessary pain and suffering to the animals.
Outside the courthouse, about a dozen animal-rights advocates accompanied by their pet dogs called for a prison sentence for Fawcett.
"If it's going to be a slap on the wrist, we are nowhere more forward than we were yesterday," said Ingrid Katzberg, referring to a possible sentence.
"It has to be something that is going to tell other people you are going to be punished if you continuously do this to animals."
Fifty-six dogs were dug up in a mass grave in May 2011 after details of the cull leaked out four months earlier.
The information came from a post-traumatic stress disorder claim made by Fawcett, the former general manager of Whistler-based Howling Dog Tours, through workers' compensation.
The claim suggested the dogs were killed to cull the sled-dog pack after a post-Winter Olympic slump in tour sales. The companies that employed the man, however, have denied such instructions.
Fawcett is expected to be sentenced on Nov. 22.
The SPCA says a memorial for the slain sled dogs is planned for Nov. 2.
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