WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES
This does not look good. Disturbing might be the better word to use.
A video seeming to show an OPP officer using the blunt end of an axe to put a wounded deer out of its misery is so graphic that some may not want to watch it.
OPP professional standards officers, however, are watching it after responding to a complaint from Animal Justice, which posted the video from a Kenora neighbourhood. The video shows what looks like an officer swinging the axe and striking a distressed animal, which appears to be lying on the ground.
If it was an attempt to conduct a mercy killing, it looked like anything but. In fact, after the officer swings the axe, it appears to slip out of his hands and fly past a second officer on the scene.
It has caught the eye of the social-media world. And the eyes of OPP brass, who were on top of this immediately.
“The OPP became aware of the video soon after the incident on Sept. 3, 2023, in Kenora, where two OPP officers attempted to dispatch a suffering deer by using the side of an axe,” said OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson. “We understand that witnessing such an incident can be difficult and we regret any distress that watching the footage may cause.”
Dickson also made it clear that “this is not the way OPP officers are trained or are expected to deal with this type of scenario” and that a firearm would have been a more appropriate and potentially more humane response.
“The Police Services Act specifically allows for use of police-issued firearms to dispatch a suffering animal. This is also covered in annual training for our officers,” said Dickson.
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He added that “the OPP Professional Standards Unit has begun an internal complaint investigation to determine whether there were any conduct and/or policy violations.
“The OPP will also be reviewing this incident from a training perspective.”
The OPP also took to the social-media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to announce they are on this and are sensitive to the people’s reaction.
“This video is disturbing,” they posted. “This is not the way officers are trained or are expected to deal with this scenario. An investigation is underway.”
Needless to say, the overall opinion so far has been one of disgust.
Animal Justice said that the “bludgeoning” of the deer left it to “slowly die in agony.”
The Toronto Sun has requested information on the full context of what transpired in the northern Ontario town, where deer hunting season is not open until Oct. 7.
Sources tell the Sun the officers’ intentions were to conduct a humane euthanasia and they had received training this year in how to deal with dying animals that are in pain.
“But they were worried about a potential bullet ricochet,” said a source, adding there were children and families nearby.
A decision was made to use something blunt, the source said, which is not in the training.
For now, people from all walks of life, including police officers, are left shaking their heads and saying this is something they have never seen before.