People across the globe are outraged by the senseless murder of 100 huskies in Whistler, and the weak protection for animals under current animal rights legislation. At the “Doggie Tweet-Up”  hundreds of protesters, online and in person, called for harsher punishments for animal cruelty. Take action by signing this petition to join the protest. — Global Animal


A pair of husky dogs frolic during a gathering of dogs and their owners during a protest in West Vancouver Sunday. Hundreds of dogs and owners gathered at an event called "Barking Mad" to protest against the slaughter of 100 husky sled dogs in Whistler that came to light last week. Photo Credit: Andy Clark, REUTERS

The Victoria Times Colonist, Tiffany Crawford

Sign the petition to request the maximum punishment for those involved in the Whistler Dog Massacre.

VANCOUVER — Hundreds of dog lovers showed up Sunday in West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park for “Barking Mad,” a rally to protest the slaughter of 100 sled dogs by Outdoor Adventures Whistler.

Huddled under umbrellas, several hundred protesters and their dogs of all shapes and sizes, gathered together in the park for what organizer Catherine Barr called the world’s “first social media doggie tweet-up.”

She had anticipated between 500 and 1,000 people would turn out but admitted the downpour likely kept many people at home.

“By all means the weather worked against us,” Barr said. “But the good thing about social media is that the turnout online is massive and the message is still huge and still a positive one.

“Whether we are here in person or here virtually, this has been a total success.”

Many passionate animal rights activists were among those in the crowd, holding signs calling for tougher laws against people who commit animal cruelty crimes.

“What happened in Whistler was a disgrace,” said Cherilyne Olson, of Bowen Island. “The laws are antiquated, outdated and woefully inadequate when it comes to protecting animals. And it’s long past time for a change. I think what happened in Whistler will be a tipping point and hopefully our governments will step up and do the right thing.”

Olson, who wore makeup on her face to look like a dog, said she’d like to see a minimum of a $50,000 fine for those who commit crimes against animals as well as a minimum prison sentence of five years.

Other protesters echoed Olson with similar demands for changes to animal laws.

Sisters Rachel and Lexi Thexton came out with their three dogs to mourn for the dogs killed in Whistler and to support the cause against animal abuse.

“It’s about time that a lot of attention comes to this cause and the fact that our animal rights legislation needs to be updated and so we’re here to support that and have fun with all the animals,” said Rachel Thexton, who also called for stiffer penalties.

Last week news emerged that nearly one-third of the tour company’s sled dog herd was slaughtered following a downturn in business after the Olympics.

The massive cull came to light because of a successful Work-SafeBC claim for post-traumatic stress disorder by Robert Fawcett, the employee who killed the dogs.

News of the slaughter sparked public outrage and made headlines across the globe.

Hundreds of protesters attended similar rallies in Whistler and Victoria on Saturday.