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Emma Paulsen, dog killer, deserves sympathy, says Surrey Now columnist

02/05/2015 03:11 EST | Updated 04/07/2015 05:59 EDT
A column in a local B.C. newspaper, expressing sympathy for convicted dog-killer Emma Paulsen, is causing outrage among animal lovers.

In an opinion piece published Wednesday, The Now newspaper staffer, Adrian MacNair, writes he felt sympathy for Paulsen when he heard she had been sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of killing six dogs and attempting to cover it up.

'Dogs are easily replaced'

"I felt sympathy because Paulsen is going to lose her right to freedom over the death of six animals who, at the end of the day, are essentially inconsequential to this world," he wrote.

"Oh yes, I’m sure the dogs were important to the dog owners. That much is clear. But they’re only dogs. And this is a woman’s life we’re talking about," he continues.

"Dogs are easily replaced. If you don’t think that’s true, head down to your local animal shelter. You can grab one for about $350."

MacNair writes that he is not condoning Paulsen's actions, but that he is concerned she is being punished excessively for making "a mistake".

The Now posted the editorial to their Facebook page with a disclaimer that "the views do not reflect a consensus opinion among the staff here".

Commenters were quick to attack MacNair for his "disgusting" views, and the newspaper for giving them a platform, with many vowing to stop reading the paper altogether.

Newspaper apologizes

On Thursday, following the outcry, the paper's editor, Beau Simpson, apologized.

"The column contained language and references to dogs that were insensitive and should not have been published," Simpson writes.

"While I support our columnists’ right to hold – and publish – opinions that may be contrary to public opinion, as editor, I accept responsibility for allowing such viewpoints to be expressed in a callous, insensitive manner."

Posting the apology to their Facebook page, the paper also said they would be printing a "counter-column" by one of their dog-loving reporters.

When contacted by CBC News for comment, MacNair emailed to say he had been asked by his "superiors not to respond any further to this story."

He did post a comment on Twitter, criticizing the degree of anger being directed at him.

"Regardless of what people think about my opinions, it's actually not cool to ask for my murder, torture and confinement in prison,' he said.

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