100 Slain Sled Dogs Will Be Exhumed From Mass Grave

A renowned team of forensic experts have come together to exhume a mass grave in British Columbia where the bodies of 100 sled dogs were buried last year after the company that owned them ordered their murders when tourism in the area slumped.

The B.C. SPCA announced it had enlisted a stellar team of specialists to lead the investigation which will determine if there is enough evidence for an animal cruelty case for the owners of the dogs.

“The scope of this investigation is unprecedented in North America,” Marcie Moriarty the SPCA Investigative manager said. “We owe it to those 100 dogs buried in that grave to ensure that this kind of tragic incident never happens again in B.C.”

Details of the two-day slaughter in April, 2010 became known in January when the tour operator who carried out the killings filed a worker’s compensation claim saying he suffered post-traumatic stress from shooting and slitting the throats of 100 dogs.

Robert Fawcett said he was ordered to kill the sled dogs by his bosses after tourism in the Whistler ski area dropped off. Fawcett told authorities he dumped the bodies — some still alive- in a mass grave north of Whistler.

The event received international attention and ignited an initiative for tougher animal welfare laws in Canada.

The government in British Columbia already took action and increased the penalties for animal cruelty in the province, established mandatory standards for sled-dog operators and increased funding for the SPCA.

The B.C. government provided $100,000 for the current investigation.  The SPCA says the entire cost is estimated at more than $225,000.

Twenty-six forensic specialists will examine the dogs’ remains and gather evidence. The group of experts is made up of veterinarians, archaeologists and anthropologists from across North America.

Some on the team helped solve the case of serial killer Robert Pickton, a pig farmer who took the lives of prostitutes from downtown Vancouver. Others helped overturn the murder conviction of Steven Truscott, 48 years after he was sentenced for killing a classmate.

The expertise of the forensic team has led them to examine mass graves in Guatemala, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It will take three to four days for the team to hand dig through the gravesite. The body of each dog will be photographed and then moved to an onsite triage station for examination and x-rays. The remains will then be taken to another location for necropsies.

Following the investigation the SPCA will see the dogs are given a “respectful and humane burial.”

Related Story:

Mass Slaughter of 100 Sled Dogs


Creative Commons - Drew Avery


Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

I don't see where digging them up again will help - the guy already admitted to doing it, and provided details to the police. He was sick over it, not surprising.

What has to happen is the company that ordered it is stripped of their license to operate or to own dogs ever again. Simple and just.

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago


JR Loring
JR Loring6 years ago

Anyone who is familiar w/sled dogs knows they are of the most loyal, hard working & heroic of dogs. This is an atrocity beyond measure! I don't feel sorry for that slaughter hound who sought compensation either! Why didn't he speak up BEFORE he began to slaughter them in the cruelest of ways? May their fate, that is now before God, be just as painful & punishing.

Robyn B.
Robyn B6 years ago

I hope the Canadian government prosecutes the responsible parties to the fullest extent of the law. Every country can learn a lesson from this story. Many thanks to Sharon for posting it.

Judith Howard
Judith Howard6 years ago

I have no compassion for Robert Fawcett who claims he suffered post traumatic stress. Hopefully, he never got any money from Worker's comp. I had a siberian husky in my life at one time and he passed on last year. Miss him. Heartbreaking story of the sled dogs.

Valerie W.
valerie winters6 years ago

30 /- years ago my daughter bought a huskie, 2 different color eyes. I spent a very long time searching his ancestry and after much time. money, rarely computers back then,only books, I discovered SIMON was from the original line from DINGO and VELACOM which were from ADMIRAL BYRD's original team. He and I would sit out in the cold eating limburger cheese on crackers. Never a better dog. The SCUM that killer the 100 PLUS dogs needs to be HUNG.

Valerie G.
Valerie G6 years ago

A comment to Patricia A: I live in Montreal, Canada, and let me tell you that I do everything I can to stop the hunting of seals. It breaks my heart.
To come back at this article, hope this action will do a difference!
Thanks for sharing!

Loretta P.
Loretta P6 years ago

I hope all involved in this slaughter whether they orchestrated or carried it out are held accountable and given strictest penalties possible. It's hard to believe this atrocity actually happened in 21st century in Canada. But why should I think that when Canada still does their annual seal slaughter? Shameful and disgusting Canada hang your head in shame. Those responsible are barbarians not human.

Lorraine W.
Lorraine Wright6 years ago

I hope that all the costs incurred will be taken from all the assets of those responsible. It's not enough, but nothing will bring the dogs back or undo the suffering of those buried alive.

Zee Kallah
.6 years ago

But their souls dance among the stars.