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Outdoor Adventures' Robert Fawcett sentenced to parole for deaths of sled dogs

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In a North Vancouver, B.C. courtroom on Thursday, Judge Steve Merrick sentenced Robert Fawcett to three years probation for the brutal deaths of 56 sled dogs after the 2010 Olympics.

Fawcett pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary pain and suffering in the deaths of nine of the dogs. As part of his punishment Fawcett will also pay a $1,500 fine, be required to perform 200 hours of community service, will not be allowed to participate in the sled dog industry, and will not be allowed to make decisions regarding euthanizing animals.

The Crown asked Judge Merrick to sentence Fawcett to three years probation, pay a $5,000 fine, and never be allowed to own an animal again.

From April 21 to April 23, 2010 Fawcett, who was then general manager of Outdoor Adventures in Whistler, killed 56 healthy sled dogs by shooting them, slashing their throats, beating, and bludgeoning them in front of each other. When Fawcett was done, he covered the mass grave and didn't tell anyone until January 2011 when a WorkSafe BC claim reported Fawcett suffering from post traumatic stress after he claimed he was ordered to kill the dogs as a mass cull.

The details of the deaths of the dogs echoed around the world. Today British Columbia has some of the toughest animal cruelty laws and now sets requirements for the retirement and euthanasia of dogs.

The bodies of 52 of the murdered dogs were exhumed from the mass grave site in May 2011 at a cost of over $200,000 by the government and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) towards the case of animal cruelty charges.

According to the National Post, Judge Merrick stated Fawcett had the "best interests" of the dogs after he culled the pack because he wanted the surviving dogs to live happy lives. His defense lawyer, Greg Diamond stated Fawcett thought he could euthanize the dogs with compassion. Fawcett's psychiatrist testified to the defendant's mental instability.

" 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 was quoted as stating.

At the beginning of November, all of the exhumed bodies of the once beautiful dogs were laid to rest at a beautiful pet cemetery in Penticton.

Rest in peace innocent dogs.

Read more about Judge Merrick's decision from the National Post by clicking here.

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