Charges were laid on Friday in the grisly slaughter of dozens of huskies used by a tourism company during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada's westernmost province.

British Columbia prosecutors charged Robert Fawcett, manager of a sled-dog touring company in the ski resort of Whistler, with "causing unnecessary pain or suffering to a number of dogs."

The slaughter of more than 50 dogs, allegedly with a shotgun and a knife, sparked protests from around the world, an investigation by police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and later prompted the province to introduce regulations to protect commercial sled dogs.

The dogs were reportedly killed as hundreds of other huskies looked on, injured dogs tried to escape, and one dog survived to crawl from a mass grave a day later.

The animals were no longer needed for sledding tours after the Olympics ended and business lagged at Outdoor Adventures Whistler and its subsidiary Howling Dogs, but executives with the private companies denied knowing the details of how they would be "culled."

The slaughter became public after the manager won a compensation award from the provincial WorkSafe agency for post-traumatic stress as a result of the killings.