The British Columbia musher who was allegedly involved in the slaughter of 100 sled dogs when his tourist dogsledding business declined has been removed from his position as vice president of a Kenai-based sled dog welfare group. Robert Fawcett of Whistler's Howling Dog Sled Tours never contacted his associates in Mush With PRIDE for help in finding homes for his dogs, Iditarod musher Karen Ramstead of Alberta, the group's president, told Canadian news agency QMI. Ramstead wrote in a post on the group's website that "euthanasia should not be used for population control, and what happened in this case is simply unacceptable. No responsible sled dog owner or caregiver treats dogs in this manner."
"We certainly aren't assigning no guilt to Mr. Fawcett," she said. "Details are still to be sorted out in the situation, but we felt the attention brought to Mush with PRIDE through this story is not putting us in a light that we want for our organization."
Ramstead said existing animal welfare laws should be sufficient to regulate kennels and rejects calls to ban dogsledding.
"There are many of us out there who are doing the sport in a humane and responsible manner," said Ramstead, a veteran of Alaska's Iditarod sled dog race. "To paint us all with a brush based on one situation is an overreaction."
The story of the gruesome dog slaughter came to light when workers' compensation was OK'd for Fawcett, who claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after killing the dogs.