Ed Note: For those who have not heard about the mass killings of sled Dogs by a Whistler company, read a late Vancouver Sun report HERE.
Premier Gordon Campbell today appointed Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Dr. Terry Lake to lead a task force - which will include representation from the British Columbia Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) and Union of B.C. Municipalities - to review the circumstances related to the reported sled dog killings and make recommendations to prevent such an incident from occurring again.
"The tragic and disturbing details that have emerged around how these dogs were inhumanely treated are not acceptable to British Columbians or to their government," said Premier Campbell. "No creature should ever have to suffer in the manner that has been reported, and we want to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again in our province."
On Monday, Jan. 31, media began reporting that up to 100 dogs were allegedly killed in an inhumane manner by an employee of a Whistler dog-sledding company.
"As a veterinarian, I was shocked and saddened by the description of the terrible treatment these dogs were reported to have been subjected to," said Dr. Lake. "We will undertake a thorough, detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding this case to ensure we take all steps necessary to ensure dogs in the dog-sledding industry are treated humanely."
Subsequently, questions have been raised around when the employee first contacted authorities about the cull, why WorkSafeBC did not provide information on the killing of the dogs to the appropriate authorities and broader issues around the regulation and oversight of the dog sledding industry.
"We need to have all of the facts regarding this terrible incident so we can determine what steps are required to prevent it from happening again," said Minister of Agriculture Ben Stewart. "While we continue to support the independent SPCA investigation and look forward to its conclusions, we also need to ensure government is taking steps to prevent this kind of incident from re occurring."
The task force's review will examine the circumstances leading up to the killing of the dogs, as well as the chain of events following any initial reports of the killing to WorkSafeBC or any other agencies and why the information was not communicated to appropriate authorities.
The task force will also examine the regulation and oversight of the dog sledding industry. The review will establish the circumstances surrounding this incident and provide appropriate recommendations. This review is in addition to the ongoing investigation by the BCSPCA and the RCMP.
In particular, and in the interest of preventing future incidents, the review will include:
* A review of responsibilities, regulation and policy governing the dog sledding industry.
* A review of the response by all agencies involved, upon being made aware of the dog killings.
* Any further issues that arise during the course of the review.
As part of the task force review, the deputy minister of agriculture will prepare a fact framework, which includes a description of the incident and what was known by whom and when. That review will inform and be part of the task force's final report, which will be made public.
The task force report will be completed within 5 days, forwarded to the minister of agriculture for review, and then released to the public in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.