LETHBRIDGE – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice is calling for a criminal animal cruelty investigation into a disturbing video depicting a Lethbridge police officer repeatedly running over an injured deer with a police truck.
The video was taken by a concerned member of the public who was shocked to witness the officer’s actions. The witness reported that the officer ran over the deer at least five or six times before the deer died. The deer can be heard shrieking loudly in the video, and the witness described being upset and disturbed at hearing the deer’s cries.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating—a provincial police watchdog agency. In addition to investigating police misconduct offences, ASIRT is empowered to lay criminal animal cruelty charges against police officers. Animal Justice believes a full investigation is required to determine whether the officer should face criminal charges for the brutal and prolonged deer torture and killing.
“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. It is heartbreaking to watch the video and hear her crying out in pain as she was struck by the vehicle over and over again,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “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 very seriously.”
Alberta’s provincial Animal Protection Act requires that an officer who finds a distressed animal must take steps to relieve the animal’s distress, including by seeking help from a humane society or caretaker. The animal can be euthanized on the advice of a veterinarian, but a police officer cannot make the decision to euthanize an animal on their own unless a veterinarian is unavailable.
There is no public information indicating that the officer sought assistance, advice, or an examination from a veterinarian or wildlife official. Moreover, running an animal over with a vehicle is never an acceptable way to euthanize an injured animal.
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