Sled dog slaughter prompts company transformation

The tour company implicated in the slaughter of dozens of sled dogs in Whistler, B.C., after the 2010 Olympics has been transformed into a non-profit foundation for animal welfare.
Workers dig up a mass grave of sled dogs near Whistler, B.C., in May. (CBC)

A Whistler, B.C. tour operator whose sled dogs were slaughtered en masse has been transformed into a not-for-profit foundation that will use its proceeds to improve animal welfare.

As many as 56 dogs were slain and buried in a mass grave after the 2010 Winter Olympics, causing worldwide outrage when the gruesome scene was discovered in the popular ski resort town.

Crown lawyers are still reviewing a criminal charge recommendation made by the B.C. SPCA against the tour operator.

All the business assets have been donated by owner Outdoor Adventures at Whistler to "The Sled Dog Foundation," including land leases, kennels, equipment and the remaining dogs.

Joey Houssian, the owner who made the donation, says the shocking allegations against a former employee prompted him to conclude the best step forward would be to "influence positive change" for the industry.

The foundation has plans to provide ongoing funding to various animal welfare programs and serve as a research base on sled dog behaviour and care.

The slaughter prompted a special B.C. task force investigation earlier this year and in May, the provincial government accepted all of the task force recommendations on the policing and prosecution of animal cruelty.