VANCOUVER, Canada - Police are investigating the slaughter of 100 husky dogs used during the 2010 Winter Olympics to pull tourist sleds in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler, authorities said Monday.
The grisly killings were reportedly carried out by one worker over two days in April 2010 with a shotgun and a knife, with reports of injured dogs crawling out of a mass grave.
Local media said the dogs were killed because business slumped in the two months following the Games and they were no longer needed by tourism companies Outdoor Adventures and Howling Dogs, which sell dog-sled rides to tourists.
"We've opened a police file and assigned an investigator," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair told AFP.
The case came to light on Monday after the unnamed worker claimed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of killing the dogs, and was reportedly awarded compensation from British Columbia worker's board.
Marcie Moriarty of the Society for Prevention of Animal Cruelty, the lead agency in the investigation, told the Vancouver Sun, "The way he describes (in the board's report) multiple shots and faces blown off and coming back on a second day is gruesome."
"The way this employee describes it, it's a massacre absolutely, a criminal code offence. These dogs were killed in front of the other dogs that were all tethered up."
The man's personal injury lawyer Cory Steinberg told news radio station CKNW, "It wasn't always a clean, one-shot kill. Inevitably he ended up seeing and having to put the end to some horrific scenes."
A spokeswoman for the law firm refused to comment on the criminal investigation and Outdoor Adventures did not return repeated calls from AFP.
The company's website, with photos of huskies and sleds, however, continues to advertise a dog sled ride for CAN$169 per person, "as a once in a lifetime experience (with) your team of energetic and loveable Alaskan Racing Huskies."
The maximum penalty in Canada for injuring or endangering an animal is five years in jail, while animal cruelty is punishable by a fine and 18 months in jail.
Image: Christine Zenino / via Flickr