Other options were available to the Lethbridge police officer who chose to use his truck to kill an injured deer, says the Medicine River Wildlife Centre.
Video of a Lethbridge officer repeatedly driving over a deer several times, while it was still alive, has caused outrage.
Lethbridge police say the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is reviewing what happened, along with Alberta Fish and Wildlife and the Alberta SPCA.
Wildlife centre executive director Carol Kelly said the officer made a bad choice. But to give him a little credit, she said other people have told her they will run over severely injured birds on the road to put them out of their misery.
“It’s not the best way, but if it’s small and in an emergency, it may be the best way. But certainly not an animal of that size. There are lots of options,” Kelly said.
If the officer did not have a shotgun, he could have called someone with one, she said.
“That’s the kindest, quickest, most humane way to do it.”
She said if her staff have an animal too injured to move, Alberta Fish and Wildlife will be called, who may contact police in the area to shoot the animal. If that’s not possible, staff can access a shotgun.
“Working with fish and wildlife officers over years, we’ve agreed if the animal is unable to get up, then it’s not going to get up. It needs to be put down. But it needs to be put down in a more humane fashion.”
So far this winter, people have reported about five injured deer to the wildlife centre, and its protocol is to leave the animal alone.
“If he’s limping, even if he’s got a broken leg, they do amazingly well healing on their own. It’s not possible to bring them into captivity. They die of fear and stress when they’re that big.”
Often, people who call about an ailing deer will report back that the animal’s injury has healed.
The most memorable case involved a deer with a broken leg after it was hit by a vehicle near Sylvan Lake, Kelly said.
“A couple of months later, neighbours reported that her leg had fallen off and she stayed around Sylvan Lake for about six years, and had three sets of twins.”
— With files from The Canadian Press