B.C. worker gets compensation for stress caused by mass dog slaughter

Worker developed PTSD after messy killing of 100 sled dogs
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 02/01/2011

A British Columbia worker has won a claim for workers’ compensation for stress after he was required to participate in a large-scale slaughter of sled dogs.

The worker was employed with Outdoor Adventures Whistler, a tour operator in Whistler, B.C. In early 2010, business was booming as the Winter Olympics brought thousands of people into the region who went on sled tours of the region. However, the company experienced a significant drop in business afterwards and in April 2010, it decided to cull a number of its idle sled dogs.

The practice came to light when an Outdoor Adventures employee filed a claim with WorksafeBC, the province’s health and safety authority, for post-traumatic stress disorder. The employee claimed his condition developed after he was assigned to kill the dogs.

The employee described a mass killing of 70 dogs that were either shot or slashed in the throat and then dumped in a mass grave. He claimed the dogs didn’t always die immediately and he had to witness some ugly incidents.

“It wasn’t always a clean, one-shot kill,” the employee’s lawyer, Cory Steinberg, told Vancouver radio station CKNW. “Inevitably, (the employee) ended up seeing and having to put the end to some horrific scenes.”

Outdoor Adventures did not dispute the claim and, in fact, corrected the number of dogs the employee said he killed to 100, according to the report.

WorksafeBC approved the employee’s claim for compensation. After reviewing the file, the B.C. branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals launched an investigation into the matter.

Update: Outdoor Adventures Whistler released a statement on Jan. 31 saying it was "aware of the relocation and euthanization of dogs" but it denied it instructed the employee to do it in the manner he described. The company said it expected the dogs to be culled "in a proper, legal and humane manner." The BC SPCA is continuing its investigation.

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