2016 was a busy and sad year for bears in Revelstoke. There were 638 reported sightings in the community, while 24 bears were killed by the Conservation Officer Service. ~ Photo by Bear Aware

Animal rights group appeals B.C. court decision over euthanized bear cub

Association of Fur-Bearing Animals filed a petition in court, challenging Consersvation services

  • Jan. 6, 2018 12:00 a.m.

An animal protection group is appealing a decision by a B.C. Supreme Court judge that ruled conservation officers have discretion when destroying wild animals.

The Association of Fur-Bearing Animals filed a petition in court last year challenging a conservation officers decision to kill a black bear cub near Dawson Creek two years ago.

The group accused the government of not following its own law on the destruction of wildlife, but Justice Gordon Weatherill said in a written ruling last month that officers have the authority to kill wildlife when performing their duties.

The group said in a statement it has launched an appeal because it believes the law says officers can only kill wild animals when they are likely to harm persons, property, wildlife or habitat.

In May 2016, Tiana Jackson found the cub, which was about the size of a domestic cat, and called the conservation officer service.

The court heard an officer was told a licensed wildlife centre in Smithers had agreed to accept the cub into its rehabilitation program, but the officer euthanized the bear.

The group claimed the officer acted outside the scope of his authority.

Lesley Fox, executive director of protection group, says they still believe that is true.

“We also believe that British Columbians, and all Canadians, expect that conservation officers will not kill wild animals who aren’t a threat.”

The Canadian Press

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