The euthanizing of an injured bear cub on Skead Rd. last Thursday has raised questions about police procedures when responding to calls about injured animals.
“I think we must review procedures to figure out if this is something the police should be undertaking as part of their duties, and if it is something they are expected to do, then more training on how to humanely euthanize an animal is needed. The current process is broken and needs to be looked at, “ said Anne Chadwick, a Sudbury resident.
Chadwick posted a description of the incident on Facebook and has stirred debate on social media about how police should respond to calls about injured animals.
Sudbury Police Services placed a response to Chadwick’s concern over the shooting of the cub on their own Facebook page.
“Today, our officers were called in relation to a bear cub that had been struck by a vehicle,” Sudbury police FB post said. ” The bear cub was suffering unable to move and struggling to breathe. Officers attended the scene. Both the MNRF and the City were contacted by our Communications Centre, but we were informed they would not be attending.”
“Our officers do not have the equipment to safely handle or transport an injured wild animal. The Officers dispatched the cub in order to end its suffering,” the police posting continued.
Police explained the a situation is not one that any officer wants to be in and the Police Service attempted to find an alternative before the officers made the decision to dispatch the cub. The cub was moved off of the roadway and the appropriate agency was contacted to remove the body.
The incident happened between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on July 19, 2018 as Anne Chadwick was driving her husband Chris Chadwick to the Sudbury Airport to catch a flight. Anne posted her reaction to the roadside shooting of the injured cub on Facebook.
The incident will be reviewed by Sudbury Police Services as are all incidents where a firearm is discharged.
“On the way to drop Chris off at the airport this morning we saw something in the middle of the road that turned out to be a bear cub,” explained Chadwick on Facebook. “Someone had hit it in their car and driven on and left him.”
Another car stopped at the same time and helped the Chadwick’s move the injured cub to the side of the road to safety. Anne Chadwick called 911 for help.
To Anne, it initially looked like the cub might have broken either one or two of his legs on one side.
“But as time progressed he was weight bearing on both legs and trying to get up and move about. All positive signs,” Chadwick noted.
Things looked hopeful for the cub according to Chadwick.
“During this time the little guy looked like he was getting stronger and kept trying to get up and move he was hurting though and had some blood on his snout as well,” Anne Chadwick noted. “He was curious and kept sniffing at me. It was wondrous to be so close to a bear even in such horrible circumstances.”
Sudbury police arrived shortly before 10 a.m. and told Anne and the two other people to move back as they were going to “dispatch” the hurt cub.The police officer shot the cub four times before it died.
In Anne Chadwick’s view, the officers did not take enough time to assess the situation and the cub’s chances for surviving.
“The police officer did not take any joy in doing this and I’m certain he would have preferred it had turned out differently,” Chadwick observed.
The two police officers explained that euthanizing the injured cub was “standard procedure” for police when responding to calls about an injured animal.
“Now don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with euthanasia [of injured animals] in the right circumstance but this poor thing hadn’t even been given the chance to be rehabilitated and released, “ Anne explained on her Facebook post.
“There are sanctuaries not far from Sudbury that do this kind of thing (rehabilitate injured animals), “ she noted.
“He looked well enough that he could have been helped. At the very least from what I’ve read he should have been tranquilized first, “ Chadwick said in her Facebook post.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get the sound of his cries out of my head nor the images of his thrashing around in agony whilst being brutally killed. It was barbaric and I’m traumatized,” said Chadwick.