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In Canada, ex-manager of sled-dog tour admits killing 56 to cull pack

Kimberly Rivera, a soldier who fled the U.S. military to avoid the war in Iraq, plays with her children Thursday. She has lived in Toronto since 2007.

Associated Press

Kimberly Rivera, a soldier who fled the U.S. military to avoid the war in Iraq, plays with her children Thursday. She has lived in Toronto since 2007.

The former manager of a British Columbia sled-dog tour company admitted to brutally killing 56 of the animals no longer needed after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Robert Fawcett pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the culling of the dogs from the pack owned by Howling Dog Tours in Whistler.

He will be sentenced Nov. 22 after the court considers a psychiatric assessment.

The incident became known last year after Fawcett filed a claim to receive worker's compensation for a post-traumatic stress disorder over stress from killing the animals.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals exhumed the remains from a mass grave as part of the investigation.

Marcie Moriarty of the SPCA said the maximum penalty Fawcett faces is five years in jail, a fine of up to $75,000 and a possible lifetime ban on owning animals.

Animal rights advocates gathered outside the courtroom in North Vancouver urging that he receive the maximum penalty.

"We want to have a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves," said pet owner Ingrid Katzberg.

U.S. soldier's bid to stay in Toronto denied

U.S. military-service resister Kimberly Rivera, who has lived in Toronto since 2007, is being deported.

Rivera, who lives with her husband and four children, two of whom were born in Canada, had sought refugee status to remain and avoid further American military service in Iraq.

The Canada Border Services Agency said it did not believe claims she would face harsh penalties, denying her bid to stay.

The War Resisters Support Campaign said two other Iraq war resisters who were deported to the United States were given one-year jail terms by the military.

News in brief

• The decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to give an opposition leader, Jack Layton of the New Democrats, a state funeral cost $368,326, newly released figures show. A Harris-Decima poll said more than 75 percent of Canadians said it was appropriate to give such an honor — not normally done for party leaders — to Layton a year ago.

• Four consumer groups have joined the movement to try to encourage federal regulators to reject Bell Canada's proposed $3.4 billion takeover of Astral Media. They say the deal would give Bell control of 38 percent of Canada's television market and 29 percent of radio stations, thereby removing competition from the marketplace. A decision is expected in weeks.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar was higher Friday at $1.0141 in U.S. funds, while the U.S. dollar was valued at 98.60 cents Canadian.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is unchanged at 1 percent, and the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,954 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,230 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Aug. 29) 3, 5, 8, 14, 24 and 34; bonus 38. (Aug. 25) 4, 12, 17, 18, 34 and 44; bonus 21. Lotto Max: (Aug. 24) 2, 3, 5, 22, 23, 32 and 33; bonus 8.

Regional briefs

• A newly married Quebec woman was swept to her death during a photo shoot in Rawdon, north of Montreal. Married in June, Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, of Laval, was posing at the edge of the Ouareau River in her wedding gown for pictures. When her gown became waterlogged and heavy, she slipped from the rocks and was pulled into the swiftly moving water and carried away.

• Alberta and Saskatchewan are among the best-performing labor markets in North America, the public policy Fraser Institute said. It placed the two western Canadian provinces at the top, followed by Manitoba in fifth place and British Columbia in seventh in a study of Canada and U.S. markets. With Quebec 11th overall and Ontario 16th, they trail in important areas such as private-sector job creation and total employment growth, said Amela Karabegovic, a co-author of the report.

• There is more backlash against Canadian visitors in U.S. border towns as some restaurants in Burlington, Vt., have added surcharges for diners from Quebec. Tipping is not just something you do in a canoe, the menu says at Ken's Pizza, suggesting an 18 percent gratuity. Two other waterfront restaurants also admitted adding an automatic surcharge to cover the tips by people from other countries.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

In Canada, ex-manager of sled-dog tour admits killing 56 to cull pack 09/01/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 7:28pm]
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