Out­rage con­tin­ues over of­fi­cer’s killing of deer while au­thor­i­ties re­quest calm dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Medicine Hat News - - WEST - TIM KALI­NOWSKI Leth­bridge Her­ald tkali­[email protected]­bridge­herald.com

Out­rage con­tin­ues to grow over a video show­ing a Leth­bridge Po­lice of­fi­cer eu­th­a­niz­ing an in­jured deer by re­peat­edly driv­ing over it with his po­lice ve­hi­cle.

Ed­mon­ton res­i­dent Tara Daubert, a stay-at-home mom with no for­mal ties to an­i­mal rights or­ga­ni­za­tions, saw the video late Tues­day af­ter­noon and felt com­pelled to start a an on­line pe­ti­tion at Change.org de­mand­ing the of­fi­cer in­volved be fired. By late Wednes­day af­ter­noon, the pe­ti­tion had al­ready gar­nered more than 15,000 sig­na­tures.

“I saw the video on the news and it sparked out­rage in my heart,” Daubert told the

“An­i­mals don’t have voices so they usu­ally rely on us to be their voice. I knew some­thing had to be done.”

Daubert called the LPS of­fi­cer’s ac­tions “an in­hu­mane and dis­gust­ing act of cru­elty.”

“I am hop­ing ASIRT as they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing take into ac­count this pe­ti­tion,” she said. “I am hop­ing for an out­come that takes this of­fi­cer off the job. If he is will­ing to do this to an an­i­mal, it re­ally calls into his ques­tion his (judge­ment) to be a po­lice of­fi­cer. What he did was need­lessly cruel, and that is not a qual­ity I want in a po­lice of­fi­cer. A po­lice of­fi­cer is here to pro­tect the com­mu­nity, and also to be a role model.”

Daubert was echoed in these com­ments by many on so­cial me­dia, and by at least one na­tional an­i­mal rights or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“An­i­mal cru­elty is a very se­ri­ous crim­i­nal of­fence, and there is lit­tle doubt that this poor deer suf­fered im­mensely while the of­fi­cer re­peat­edly ran her over with a heavy truck,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of An­i­mal Jus­tice, in a state­ment re­leased to lo­cal me­dia Wednes­day af­ter­noon.

“ASIRT must in­ves­ti­gate this dis­turb­ing in­ci­dent with a view to de­ter­min­ing whether crim­i­nal an­i­mal cru­elty charges should be laid. Po­lice of­fi­cers are not above the law. On the con­trary, they are sworn to up­hold the law. For that rea­son, an­i­mal abuse of this na­ture by a po­lice of­fi­cer is par­tic­u­larly dis­turb­ing and must be taken se­ri­ously.”

Barb Grodz­icky, man­ager of the Leth­bridge and District Hu­mane So­ci­ety, said cases of cru­elty to wild an­i­mals were be­yond the juris­dic­tion of her or­ga­ni­za­tion to in­ves­ti­gate, but she ad­mit­ted to be­ing shaken af­ter view­ing video footage of the in­ci­dent.

“We have seen a lot of dif­fer­ent things with an­i­mal cru­elty,” she said. “This story is hard to read, and the video is very dis­turb­ing to watch.”

Lo­cal of­fi­cials with Al­berta Fish and Wildlife, when asked about the best pro­ce­dures to hu­manely eu­th­a­nize wild an­i­mals which had been struck on high­ways with ve­hi­cles, said they have been di­rected to not pub­licly com­ment on mat­ters re­lated to this case, and to await the out­come of the ASIRT in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A press re­lease from ASIRT re­leased Wednes­day af­ter­noon con­firmed Al­berta Fish and Game’s Wildlife En­force­ment unit and the Al­berta SPCA would both now be join­ing ASIRT in ex­am­in­ing the of­fi­cer’s ac­tions, and asked the pub­lic to let the in­ves­ti­ga­tion take its course.

“This mat­ter has al­ready re­ceived con­sid­er­able pub­lic at­ten­tion and in­ter­est,” ASIRT said in a state­ment. “The video is dis­turb­ing, prompt­ing many to step for­ward to make com­plaints to var­i­ous agen­cies in­clud­ing ASIRT, FWE, Al­berta SPCA, Leth­bridge and District Hu­mane So­ci­ety and, of course, LPS. We are for­tu­nate to be part of the Cana­dian com­mu­nity where peo­ple care about the treat­ment of oth­ers, in­clud­ing an­i­mals. That pas­sion how­ever, must not su­per­sede rea­son. The sit­u­a­tion has es­ca­lated to re­ported death threats against the uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cer. These ac­tions are now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by LPS.”

The Leth­bridge Po­lice Ser­vice also called for calm dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We un­der­stand this sit­u­a­tion is ex­tremely up­set­ting to the com­mu­nity and those who have viewed the video have been deeply im­pacted,” the LPS said in a state­ment. “LPS takes this mat­ter very se­ri­ously and can as­sure the pub­lic the in­ci­dent is un­der full in­ves­ti­ga­tion by (ASIRT) with the as­sis­tance of both Al­berta Fish and Wildlife and the Al­berta SPCA.”

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