An animal rescue group in Longueuil is calling the actions of a Longueuil police (SPAL) officer “outrageous” after the officer was filmed shooting a deer multiple times while it was on the ground.
SPAL communications spokesperson Francois Boucher said that on Feb. 19, a concerned citizen called the police about a wounded deer in a residential area near Michel-Chartrand Park.
Police say the deer had two broken legs and with guidance from the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, the officer shot it 13 times in a half hour.
“We received the approval of a representative of the Ministry of Wildlife to shoot the animal,” Boucher told Energie 94.3 FM. “There were shots fired into the neck and thorax of the animal at close range, as indicated by the procedures. It was found that the animal was still showing signs of life for some reason that remains unexplained.”
Sauvetage Animal Rescue agent Steven Amorosa said the officer should not have been told to shoot the deer with his sidearm but rather contact a tactical intervention officer with a higher calibre weapon.
“If you take their sidearms, basically it’s a 9 mm,” said Amorosa. “It’s not a big enough calibre to put an animal down unless you know exactly where to shoot.”
Amorosa said he went on a call once where a deer was hit by a car, and officers were able to kill it with three shots, not more than a dozen.
After the shots were fired citizens began calling 911 and one neighbour shot the video.
“Repeated gunshots in a residential area, a bloodbath under the eyes of citizens scandalized by such barbarity,” a post on the Animal Rescue Facebook page reads. “How is it possible that in 2023, our government does not adequately equip its various levels to react to emergency situations involving animals?”
Amorosa said the blame should lie at the foot of the Wildlife Ministry which did not intervene directly.
“I don’t think it’s the fault of the Longueuil police, nor the police officer who shot the animal. If that officer didn’t have the training, who can blame him,” he said. “It comes down to the minister himself. It’s a shame, and then they just dispatch calls away, and you get situations like these.”
He and others at Animal Rescue and the SPCA would like to see more effort on the part of governments to think of other solutions to animal incursions rather than shooting them. He referenced the 2021 story in Dorval when a bear was caught and euthanized in Dorval, rather than relocating the animal.
“He was put down because they said he’s not supposed to be in an urban area,” said Amorosa. “There are other options.”
DEER CULL CONTROVERSY
The Michel-Chartrand Park has been ground zero in a battle between the City of Longueuil and animal rights advocates over the deer population. The city says deer overpopulation is threatening biodiversity and their numbers need to be culled. The city planned a crossbow hunt to cull the deer, but was forced to abandon the plan after the SPCA and Animal Rescue led a legal challenge.
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