Outrage after Longueuil police shoot deer 13 times
An animal rescue group is calling on Quebec's Wildlife Ministry to act after a video was shared online showing a Longueuil police officer firing several bullets into a wounded deer.
In the video captured by a neighbour, a deer is seen lying on the snowy ground on the other side of a bush. The residents react as multiple shots are heard over a five-minute period.
Sauvetage Animal Rescue shared the video on its Facebook page, calling the incident "barbaric" and a "bloodbath."
"How is it that two police officers, whose mandate is to protect and serve the population, are forced to intervene with wildlife?" Sauvetage Animal Rescue wrote in a message posted to its Facebook page. "Are there no wildlife protection agents for this kind of intervention?"
Longueuil police (SPAL) confirmed the shooting of the deer, stating the incident took place on Feb. 19.
A resident called 911 around 11 a.m. about an injured deer that had been lying in their backyard since 7 a.m., SPAL said in a statement. The police department said the officer who responded to the call saw that the deer's front legs were broken and it was unable to stand.
According to SPAL, the department received authorization from Quebec's Wildlife Ministry to kill the animal, and the officer put down the animal according to protocol, standing a metre away while shooting, in order to minimize the animal's suffering.
The officer continued to fire — about 13 shots over a 30-minute period — because the deer continued to move after each shot, it said.
Sauvetage Animal Rescue said that it does not blame the police officer who shot the deer but rather, Quebec's Wildlife Ministry for not stepping in to control the deer population in the Longueuil park.
"Michel-Chartrand Park's deer overpopulation is an issue we've been invested in for more than two years now and could have been easily solved through sterilization," the group wrote.
SPAL spokesperson Annie Gougeon told Radio-Canada it was not the first time the experienced officer had put down a deer. "The only thing is, the animal continued to move and breathe," she said.
Ideally, said Gougeon, the Wildlife Ministry would have handled the situation, but the animal's suffering and the fact that it was a Sunday meant that the officer had to step in. For the same reason, alerting residents in the area wasn't feasible, she said.
Longueuil police are trained how and where to put down deer but only with bullets, said Gougeon. "The only tools that we have in the police service [for putting down deer] are firearms."