04/20/2012 03:55 EDT | Updated 06/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Cruelty Charge Laid In B.C. Sled Dog Slaughter

A charge of animal cruelty has been laid against the part-owner of a Whistler sled dog company after 100 dogs were slaughtered in 2010.

Robert Fawcett has been charged with causing unnecessary pain or suffering to a number of dogs, confirms the B.C. Crown.

In a WorkSafeBC compensation claim for post-traumatic stress disorder, Fawcett alleged he killed the dogs over a two-day period in April 2010, following the Vancouver Olympics.

Fawcett was the part-owner of Howling Dog Tours, along with Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures, which used the sled dogs on its tours.

Outdoor Adventures maintains it never sanctioned the killing of that many dogs, and did not take over the operation of Howling Dog Tours from Fawcett until a month after the slaughter.

The bodies of 52 dogs were exhumed from a mass grave in May of 2011 as part of an investigation led by the B.C. SPCA.

The discovery of the slaughter horrified the province and led to amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, increasing fines for animal cruelty convictions to a maximum of $75,000 and allowing jail terms of up to two years.

In February, the provincial government also introduced the Sled Dog Code of Practice, which sets standards for health, nutrition, housing, working conditions, transportation and euthanasia.