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Apparent video of B.C. man burning deer not a police matter, RCMP says

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The RCMP says a disturbing video posted on the Internet that apparently shows the carcass of a deer being burned on a road in northern British Columbia doesn't warrant a police investigation.

"What occurred on that video, at this time, does not appear to be Criminal Code in nature and that's why we partnered with the B.C. Conservation office, and the SPCA. We felt it was in their jurisdiction under the Wildlife Act," said Constable Lesley Smith of the RCMP's North District.

The video, which was taken from a social media site in Dawson Creek and appears to have been shot on a cellphone, shows an indistinct object burning. The voice of an unidentified male, however, says it is the body of a deer that was run over and dragged down the road.

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"It's a deer I just hit on the highway," the man says, laughing at times. "Drug it for a while. It's on fire now. Deer be warned."

Const. Smith said that even if the man is giving an accurate description of what happened, it wouldn't be a police matter.

"There's nothing criminal about it, under the Criminal Code. It's not a domestic animal, or what we refer to as a chattel, which is an animal on someone's property for work … there are definitions in the Criminal Code that have to be met in order for it to be a criminal offence," she said.

But Sergeant Shawn Brinsky, a South Peace conservation officer with the B.C. Ministry of Environment, told the Dawson Creek Daily News that there are possible violations of the Wildlife Act depicted in the video.

He said people need a proper permit to possess wildlife.

Sgt. Brinsky said the inquiry is just getting under way, however, and it was too soon to reach any conclusions.

"It's still extremely early in the investigation," he said.

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In a statement released Thursday, the Ministry of Environment said substantial fines could apply.

"There are potential offences of the Wildlife Act including unlawful possession of dead wildlife with a maximum penalty of up to $50,000 or term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both," the government statement said.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Mark Hume is a National Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver, writing news and feature stories on a daily basis about his home province of British Columbia. His weekly column, which often challenges the orthodoxy on environmental issues, appears every Monday. More

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