A police officer in a southern Alberta town repeatedly ran over a deer in order to kill it after it was hit by a car.
The Lethbridge incident was captured on video on January 5th by a local woman who saw the officer running over the deer four times and parking on top of it as it cries out in pain. Speaking to Global News, Erica Pritchard, the woman who took the video, said that a car had previously hit the deer breaking it’s back legs.
The woman was still there when the police officer showed up. Typically in this situation, an officer would get out use their sidearm to dispatch the animal as is typical but, for some unknown reason, that didn’t happen and the officer began running the animal over repeatedly.
After the police truck, with lights flashing, rolled over the animal twice Pritchard began recording. At this point, the animal was still alive and in obvious pain and distress. The video, which was obtained and posted online by Global, starts with the truck slowly pulling up to the deer. “He’s probably going to run it over again,” you hear Pritchard say as the deer, which has two broken back legs, struggles. As Pritchard predicted the truck slowly pulls forward and runs the passenger side tire over the deer as it lets out a bleat. The truck stops once it slowly rode over the deer and quickly pulls backward over it.
“Oh, he’s just run over it again,” says Pritchard
The video then cuts to six minutes in the future with the deer still alive and trying to crawl away on its two functioning legs. The truck once again pulls over the deer, this time getting both the front and back tires over the animal. The police truck, now fully past the deer, then backs up over it once again. Then for the third time, the truck pulls forward, this time though, when it’s on the deer it stops.
“[They’re] literally on it now, [they’re] literally on top of the deer with the tire” narrates Pritchard.
After this time, with the officer thinking the deer is dead, they then get out and drag it off the side of the road into the ditch. The cop then gets back in her vehicle, turns off the emergency lights and drives away.
The incident is being looked into by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team—a team that reviews police actions and determines if misconduct took place. Global News spoke to Lethbridge police Chief Robert Davis who said that in his time officers primarily dealt with injured animals by shooting them—something that puts them out of their misery quickly.
“My whole career, you deal with an animal by shooting it,” he said. “However, there may be circumstances where that is not practical, and if that is a gap that is identified in the investigation, then we will rectify that gap.”
Outrage over the officer's actions is growing. Online a petition has been started on Change.org which calls for the officer’s firing, calling the actions “inhumane, and disgusting.” It’s received almost 8,000 signatures so far.
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