NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A judge has ruled that a man who pleaded guilty in the slaughter of dozens of sled dogs in British Columbia will not spend time in prison.

Provincial Court Judge Steve Merrick concluded Thursday that Robert Fawcett had the best interests of the dogs at heart when he culled the pack near Whistler after a slump in business following the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Fawcett's lawyer told the court his client says he'll never stop feeling guilty about the April 2010 killings.

Fawcett earlier pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. That count relates to the deaths of nine dogs. More than 50 dogs were exhumed from a mass grave in May 2011. The court was told that most of the dogs that were shot did not suffer.

The judge sentenced Fawcett to three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.

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