The finger pointing has begun.
The SPCA is currently investigating the incident and also fielding claims made in the February 2, 2011 issue of the Vancouver Sun that Fawcett asked for help on two separate occasions (they deny that they knew about the impending deaths).
Premier Gordon Campbell announced that a task force will review the Whistler incident.
Bob Fawcett, from all accounts, is suffering from PTSD. I hope that he suffers from it for the rest of his life. I hope that every single night he has nightmares. I hope that every single day he will get flashbacks.
I wonder… did he realize the fallout from filing a claim? Did he know it would be the scandal of the month? Did he want to punish himself? If he felt guilty enough to want people to know what happened, then
There are those who think that his self-punishment was not enough. While I certainly sympathize with the people who originated comments construed as threatening, I urge the readers of this blog to keep circumspect about their online hopes for Fawcett’s suffering and death. It turns the eyes of the law away from what he did and makes him appear the victim.
What Should We Do?
There are calls for boycotting Outdoor Adventures and calls for boycotting the entire sled dog tour industry. I don’t think that this is the right step. There are companies out there who treat their dogs well. Sledding is a sport that these dogs live for and, given the right environment, is a perfectly acceptable way of exercising and socializing them. Remember that these are not family pets; for many sled dogs, the sledding life is all they know. Boycotting sled dog companies can hurt the well-cared-for dogs of legitimate operators.
What I propose is going to be more difficult than just calling for a ban or not patronizing dog sled tour companies. I think that people should actually do research on the tour company they plan on using. Mindful entertainment, if you will.
How many dogs do they have? Where do they get their dogs? How are the dogs treated? What happens if a dog gets injured? What happens when a dog gets old? Does the local SPCA have anything to say about them?
Now that the national eye is focused on sled dogs and their treatment, I’ve no doubt that there will spring up more interest in rating dog tour companies and minimum standards for dog care and treatment. Our job as consumers is to use these tools and also to look beyond them, to ensure that we are making financial choices that benefit the operators of humanely treated sled dogs.
I also call for the conviction of Bob Fawcett on 100 counts of animal cruelty.