People at a Manitoba Hutterite colony are shocked after conservation officers shot a deer they had adopted.
Mike Hofer said he heard a gunshot Saturday on the Windy Bay Hutterite colony near the community of Pilot Mound. He followed the sound and turned a corner to see the deer bucking on the ground.
Hofer said the Manitoba Conservation officers told the colony members they weren't allowed to domesticate wild animals.
He said the deer, called Bambi or Bob by people on the colony, was not locked up but free to come and go as it wanted.
The incident is having an effect on the whole community, Hofer said, adding he wants the officers held to account for shooting the animal.
“Obviously, we are very hurt about it and outraged and everyone was attached to it. There was no reason to kill it — something that you've grown attached to over the past six months, right in the middle of your yard, right in front of your own eyes," he said.
"That was wrong.”
Evie-Lynn Maendel father first found the fawn last summer when he accidently ran over it with a piece of machinery.
They nursed the animal back to health and bottle-fed it, and it stuck around in spite of having full freedom to roam.
Recently, someone complained to wildlife officials as he grew bigger. The person was concerned about the safety of children and just wanted the animal to be relocated, Maendel said.
On Saturday, she watched from the window of her home as officers shot Bambi.
She said it was shocking and traumatic.
"I think all of us assumed that they would maybe tranquilize him or just take him away or be a little more discreet about how they put him down," Maendel said.
"I saw the deer fall and he thrashed around on the ground for about a minute [then] they just quickly grabbed him up and left."
A Manitoba Conservation official said if he could reverse the decision to kill the deer in plain sight, he would.
Jack Harrigan, the department's manager of compliance and field services, said the officers should have taken the deer off site before shooting it.
Harrigan said Manitoba Conservation's investigation will look at, among other things, why the deer was shot in front of people.
"From that [investigation], we will take away information that's going to help us develop a better directive a better policy to deal with situations like this," he said.
"In a normal situation, we would typically not euthanize an animal in front of the public. We would avoid that at all cost, normally."
Harrigan says the officers shot the deer after determining there was little chance of reintroducing it into the wild.
Hofer said what the officers did was inhumane, unprofessional, and disrespectful, and he doesn't buy their explanation for killing the animal.
“All I know is they were saying stuff about, 'You're not allowed to domesticate a wild animal.' What is domesticating?" he said.
"I mean, we didn't lock it up. We didn't pin it in. It was free to come and go as it wanted to so. I don't understand."
He said the whole community is hurt and outraged.