Confrontation over injured deer prompts reminder from Campbell River RCMP
A deer was put down after it was badly injured by a car on the Old Island Highway in Campbell River. A woman passing by at the time says she's concerned with how the deer was killed. (Submitted)
Published Thursday, June 7, 2018 6:00PM PDT
Warning: This story contains details and images that some may consider graphic.
Mounties and conservation officers are reminding the public to let them handle injured animals after two civilians put down a deer that was struck by a car in Campbell River.
A woman who came upon the grisly scene also said she had objections to the way the men appeared to handle the injured deer.
Crystal Martin says she was driving along the Old Island Highway near the Jubilee Parkway when she saw a deer, which didn’t appear to be badly injured, get up and stand on all four legs.
Martin claims she saw two men who had stopped on the highway force the animal back to the ground, then kick it 10 times before taking a saw to its head.
She described it as one of the most horrific things she'd ever witnessed.
"The brutality of it, just literally sawing it back and forth, and the animal was struggling to try to get away, you’d think it was a piece of timber,” Martin said.
She said she tried to intervene and began to photograph the scene believing that she was witnessing a crime of animal abuse. She said that's when one of the men chased her back to her car and began pulling at the vehicle's doors, trying to open it while violently hitting her car.
Campbell River RCMP confirm they received a report of a deer struck, but say indications are that the men were simply trying to destroy the animal because it would not have survived.
Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk says while no criminal act took place, those involved could have used better judgment.
“Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do, to do that themselves. They should have called the conservation officers through the RAPP number or called the police," Vlooswik said.
A statement from the BC Conservation Service also reiterates that the public should never try to take care of wildlife themselves because they are at risk of being hit on the roads. Their actions could also push wildlife back out onto roadways where they could be subject to further injury, or other members of the public can become injured, conservation said.
Martin posted about the incident on Facebook, asking for any witnesses to come forward who may have seen one of the men approach her vehicle during the incident.
Vlooswik says as far as the RCMP are concerned, there was no mention to them of any threats made towards Martin.
Photos Martin took at the scene show vehicles from Emcon Road Maintenance were also at the scene when the deer were destroyed.
Operations manager Stewart Westwood confirms one of the company's employees witnessed the deer being struck by a vehicle and was in the process of dealing with the situation when two members of the public arrived on scene and put the deer out of its misery.
Westwood says his crews pick up deer on a daily basis along island roadways but occasionally the animals are not yet dead.
He says the company’s policy is to contact RCMP or Conservation officers to have those animals destroyed.