The man responsible for the "execution-style" cull of 100 sled dogs that were no longer of use to the Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures "due to a slow winter" season had known a lot of the dogs and was so traumatized by the slaughter he now suffers from nightmares, panic attacks and depression, according to a confidential workers' compensation review decision obtained by the Vancouver Sun.
The unidentified man said he had raised many of the 300 dogs owned by his employer, in fact, naming many of them. But over a two-day period in late April 2010, he agree to carry out the orders from his employer to euthanize some of them because part of his job duties "included herd control."
The BCSPCA is launching an investigation of the cull.
In the document, the man thought he had put down 30 per cent of the company's herd -approximately 70 animals -but the employer's report of injury to the animals, filed with the review board in May, stated it had actually been 100 dogs.
The information came to light after the employee filed for workers' compensation after developing posttraumatic stress disorder for allegedly being forced to kill the dogs after bookings slumped following the 2010 Olympic Games.
A veterinarian had been contacted but refused to participate in the cull of healthy animals.
The report also stated the man given the job tried to adopt out the dogs but with limited success.
"In the past, his practice when euthanizing a dog was to take it for a walk in the woods and give them a nice meat meal to distract them. That would make for a calm environment and kept the dogs away from the general population so as not to disrupt them. He would use a gun to euthanize the dogs," the report states.
However, because of the large number of dogs, he said he was forced to euthanize the dogs in full view of the other animals.
By about the 15th dog, it appeared to him "the dogs were experiencing anxiety and stress from observing the euthanasia of other members of the pack and were panicking."
The employee had put down about 55 dogs on April 21, and by the end of the day, the dogs were so panicked they were biting him and he had to wrap his arms in foam to prevent injury.
But the killings on April 23 were described as "worse" than two days earlier because the herd's fear and anxiety began almost immediately.
At that point, the reports states he "wanted nothing more than to stop the 'nightmare,' but he continued because he had been given a job to finish and did not want to prolong the suffering and anxiety of the whole kennel population. He stated that he felt 'numb.'"
"When he finished he cleared up the mess, filled in the mass grave and tried to bury the memories as deeply as he could."
Five days after the final culling, he sought treatment from a clinical counsellor who indicated he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Marcie Moriarty, head of the BC SPCA cruelty-investigations division, said the man, the general manager of Outdoor Adventures at the time, could have simply said no.
"I've no doubt he has suffered post-traumatic stress but there's a thing called choice. I absolutely would not have done this and he could have said no," she said. "This is a criminal-code offence and to have just stopped. I don't feel sorry for this guy for one minute."
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