Vancouver, BC - June 10, 2009 - Through its Victims of Cruelty Reward Program, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing a female black bear near Brochet, Manitoba.
Reportedly a man taking part in a fishing derby killed the mother, leaving three young bear cubs orphaned. Two were later killed by Manitoba Conservation Officers, and the third escaped back into the wilderness.
“Whoever needlessly killed this bear needs to be brought to justice and punished to the fullest extent of the law,” says Al Hickey, The Humane Society of Canada's (HSC) Western Regional Director. It is illegal in Manitoba to kill a female bear with cubs and to hunt without a license. Encouraging animal cruelty can also lead to violence against people."
Canadians are nature lovers according to the animal charity. Repeated government surveys have shown that more than 95% of Canadians support the protection and not the killing of wildlife, and that less than 5% of Canadians are involved in the recreational killing of wildlife. One third of Canadian households also feeds and watches wildlife.
The person or persons involved can be charged under the province’s Wildlife Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. Penalties include fines, jail terms, seizure of equipment, firearms and hunting prohibitions, and an order prohibiting a convicted offender of working or owning animals. In the past, rewards offered by The Humane Society of Canada have led to breaks in cases involving cruelty to animals and the organization hopes that it can encourage people to come forward with information.
According to The HSC Chairman & CEO Michael O'Sullivan: "Concerned citizens called Manitoba Conservation Officers thinking that the bear cubs would be taken care of and rehabilitated. However, instead of devoting their time and energy to tracking down the offender and helping the orphaned cubs, Conservation Officers killed the two remaining victims under their care -- reportedly because there are no available facilities in the entire province of Manitoba licensed to deal with black bears and rehabilitate bear cubs."
However, there are black bear rehabilitation facilities in other provinces: Bear With Us and Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario; the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, North Island Wildlife Recovery and Critter Care Wildlife Society in BC; the Cochrane Ecological Institute in Alberta. These centres have successfully released black bears into the wild before. The animal charity wants to know why Manitoba Conservation Officers did not contact them to try and arrange a transfer to a wildlife rehabilitation facility for later release back into the wild.
"We are offering our assistance to Premier Gary Doer and Manitoba Conservation in developing a strategic plan to deal with orphaned bear cubs so that no further tragedies occur. We are also asking that disciplinary action be taken against Conservation staff who participated in the deaths of the orphaned cubs," said O'Sullivan, who expressed his contempt for whomever killed an animal that was more magnificent than the hunter could ever be, noting that: "When someone destroys a work of man we call him a vandal. But when someone destroys a work of God and nature we call him a sportsman."
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Humane Society of Canada, toll-free at 1-800-641-KIND (5463), or Manitoba Conservation 24 hour tip line at 1-800-782-0076.
Anyone who would like to donate to The Humane Society of Canada’s Victims of Cruelty Reward Program to help solve crimes against animals and nature can contact the organization at 1-800-641-5463 or through their website at www.humanesociety.com.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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