A small but sincere group of protesters showed up at the North Vancouver Court House this morning (June 19, 2012), politely and quietly holding their signs that honoured the dead sled dogs, killed by Robert Fawcett, in April 2010, shortly after Whistler's Winter Olympics ended. Mr Fawcett did not appear; his lawyer did for him. The two lawyers (Crown Counsel and Mr Fawcett's lawyer), spoke very quietly with their backs to the public, so the representations they made for more time couldn't be heard by most of the public, but the case was put over until August 16th when they will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing in chambers, and that won't be public. It may be possible that Mr Fawcett and Crown Counsel may at some point arrange a plea bargain with a soft sentence, and there will be no trial.
As long as the bargain goes easy on Mr Fawcett, a bargain is certainly in his best interests. He is spared two weeks of daily vilification in the media and the whole world, because a trial would go viral.
And it would be in the government's best interests for there to be no trial too. This case so stunned and enraged the world that the mighty tourism industry must have been exceedingly angry, and a political party cannot afford to anger such a powerful lobby. Airing this dirty laundry all over again is not in the government's best interests either.
Nor, do I believe, that a trial would be in the SPCA's best interests. Facts might be proved at trial that cast the SPCA in a very poor light.
But in my opinion, it's not in the best interests of the welfare of BC's animals for there to be no trial. When the BC SPCA fails to protect animals it must be held to account as must the owners of the animals.
Read this article in SFGate. It quotes from an email from Mr Fawcett to SPCA Special Provincial Constable Eileen Drever, that was first published in the Vancouver Sun, in which Mr Fawcett clearly informs her that the dogs are suffering "cruelty" and begs her for help. Ms Drever would know better than anyone else at the SPCA that Mr Fawcett was not being rhetorical when he used the word cruelty. Ms Drever has had the state of Mr Fawcett's dogs described to her an unknown number of times over more than a decade. And she has actually inspected Mr Fawcett's dogs and found they needed veterinary care. Yet according to the Vancouver Sun article, "Drever didn't respond to the e-mail for five days, and then refused to help Fawcett when she did. She did agree to visit the kennel and check on the dogs, but she never followed through."
Animals in BC are not being properly protected by the BC SPCA and that must change. But it may not if all is swept under the carpet by there being no trial.