Police slit throat of severely injured young deer in Medicine Hat neighbourhood
**Warning: Video includes graphic imagery some viewers may find disturbing**
Officials with the Medicine Hat Police Service say they support the actions of their officers following a Friday morning incident where an injured fawn was killed with a knife.
Medicine Hat resident Denis Bagarić was driving to work when he spotted an injured deer walking across the road and towards some homes. "The animal went and sheltered itself in a corner, right beside a person's door."
According to police, MHPS officers responded to the 500 block of 3rd Street Northwest after Alberta Fish and Wildlife was notified of an injured deer in the area but its members were unable to attend the scene. Police located a severely harmed deer suffering from injuries that were suspected to be the result of an encounter with a vehicle. The deer had two fractured legs and a severed leg.
MHPS officials say the officers determined the animal was mortally wounded and a decision was made to kill the deer. Given the fact the animal was located near several homes, police elected to kill the animal with a knife instead of a firearm.
Bagarić says he saw officers approach the animal and he questioned their plans. "The cop was putting on his gloves and I said 'You're not going to put the animal down, are you?," Bagarić told CTV Calgary. "He said 'well, the animal is missing its legs so we're going to put it down'."
Police attempted to notify residents in the immediate vicinity of what was occurring and a barrier was put in place to shield citizens from witnessing the death
"I thought he was going to pick up the deer and take it to a field or let a vet deal with him, or some sh**, but to whip out a knife and start stabbing it? I think that's disgusting."
Bagarić recorded the officers killing the deer and shared the video on social media. The post garnered stark criticism of the actions of police.
"There's so many different ways to do it," said Bagarić. "To slit its throat in between two houses in a residential area?"
"It's just very sad."
Late Friday morning, MHPS released the following statement:
"The MHPS is aware of a video that is circulating on social media of this incident and understand that it is disturbing. The MHPS supports the actions of the involved officers, who took the matter very seriously and attempted to mitigate the trauma to the injured deer and the public as much as possible."
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the provincial body that oversees the conduct of police services, says it has not been directed to investigate this incident with the Medicine Hat Police Service.
Sue Hughson, ASIRT's executive director, told CTV News in an email that the situation reflected a similar incident in Lethbridge that took place earlier this year.
"Past a certain point, there are generally only a series of very bad options to euthanize an injured animal and none of them are easy or pleasant, without the assistance of a veterinary professional or an easily-accessed [Fish and Wildlife] officer."
The agency was called to investigate in that instance and, ultimately, there were no charges laid against the officer involved.