Victoria employee who decapitated killed cougar fired

Victoria employee who decapitated killed cougar fired
Victoria Police handout image
A Victoria Police officer caught a picture of the cougar the morning of Nov. 21, 2023.

A City of Victoria employee who decapitated a cougar that was shot and killed by Victoria Police officers in November has been fired, a spokesperson says.

On Nov. 21 a cougar that was seen in the Jutland area was shot and killed by VicPD officers. It is believed it was brought to a City of Victoria facility. Shortly after, reports came out that the cougar’s head had been removed and taken elsewhere.

The City of Victoria investigated the head being removed.

“The City has concluded its investigation process into this incident and we can confirm the individual responsible is no longer employed by the City,” a spokesperson for the city said.

When CHEK clarified if the person had been fired or quit, the spokesperson responded, “Terminated.”

When the cougar was killed, police said it was necessary due to the proximity to schools.

“Given the close proximity to a school and preschool during care hours, the amount of people and residences in the area, and the amount of time it would take for Conservation officers to arrive, the risk to public safety was determined to be high and a decision was made to dispatch the cougar,” VicPD said in a release.

“Situations where police are required to dispatch an animal are extremely rare. We understand that people may feel strongly about this animal and its well-being, and we can assure you that this decision was not made lightly; this was a difficult decision for the officers involved. However, the safety and security of the community is our priority.”

In the following days, reports came out that the cougar had been decapitated and the head was taken elsewhere. When BC Conservation Officers began looking into the matter, the head was returned.

“The cougar head was promptly returned to the COS,” the statement says. “The individual was co-operative throughout the investigation and expressed remorse for their actions.”

The person responsible received a written warning for the unlawful possession of wildlife under the Wildlife Act.


Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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