Skip to main content

Disturbing video of police dispatching deer in northern Ont. being investigated

WARNING: This article contains graphic details of violence that may disturb some readers.

Ontario Provincial Police says it is investigating an incident involving a pair of officers in northern Ontario after a disturbing video surfaced showing an axe being used to dispatch a deer.

Animal Justice, a Canadian animal law advocacy group, posted a video of the incident on social media Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday evening on social media, OPP said it is aware of the incident "where officers attempted to dispatch a suffering deer using the side of an axe."

"This video is disturbing. This is not the way officers are trained or expected to deal with this scenario," OPP said.

"An investigation is underway."

In an official statement on Sept. 16, the OPP wrote:

"The Ontario Provincial Police would like to address an incident in Kenora where officers were called to respond to a motor vehicle collision that left a deer seriously injured. We appreciate the concerns raised by our community, and sincerely regret the distress the incident and the video have caused."

OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson confirmed in an email to CTV News on Wednesday morning the incident happened in a residential area of Kenora on Sept. 3.

"The deer had been hit by a vehicle and was critically injured and suffering," Dickson said.

Shannon Nickerson, Animal Justice's communications manager, said on the agency's website Tuesday a code of conduct complaint has been filed against the officers.

"The officers decided to euthanize the animal—but instead of using a safe and humane method, or calling for support, they violently struck the deer in the head with the blunt end of an axe and left her there to slowly die in agony, which took over an hour, according to local residents who witnessed the horrific incident," Nickerson said.

"The officers in question could have acted in countless more reasonable ways, including calling local animal services, contacting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for advice, or contacting a local animal rehabilitation centre for instruction on how to humanely contain or euthanize the animal."

Dickson said officers are authorized under the Police Services Act to use their firearms to dispatch animals that are suffering but cannot "get into a lot of specifics of 'what should have happened.'"

OPP spokesperson Gosia Puzio said in a news release Saturday that officers are often required to take difficult actions as part of their duties – euthanasia of an injured animal is one of them.

The matter is being investigated by the OPP professional standards unit, said Dickson.

“We want to provide reassurance to the public that we are taking this matter seriously,” said police.

“We are actively and thoroughly investigating the incident to gather all the necessary facts that influenced the circumstances.” Top Stories

Ontario doctors disciplined over Israel-Gaza protests

A number of doctors are facing scrutiny for publicizing their opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. Critics say expressing their political views could impact patient care, while others say that it is being used as an excuse for censorship.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected