British Columbia now has the toughest animal-cruelty laws in the country, a year after the discovery by the SPCA of a mass grave of up to 100 sled dogs in Whistler.

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

Marcie Moriarty of the SPCA says the code will provide minimum standards that will improve the welfare of working dogs.

The issue arose last year when a leaked workers' compensation claim indicated a man working for tour company Outdoor Adventures had developed post-traumatic stress disorder after killing the animals following the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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.

It also increased funding for the SPCA, which hired a team of internationally recognized forensic experts and exhumed the bodies of 52 of the dogs in May last year.

Outdoor Adventures has since been transformed into a not-for-profit foundation that uses its proceeds to improve animal welfare. No criminal charges were ever laid.

With files from The Canadian Press