Black bear death investigation in Muskoka
A Muskoka woman is still coming to terms with what she witnessed earlier this week after a black bear was struck by a pick-up truck.
Collisions between cars and wildlife are common in Muskoka but nothing could have prepared Bev McMullen for what she would witness on Bethune Drive in Gravenhurst.
“The driver of the truck said I hit the bear. I said the bear is still alive, I will call the OPP. He said no wait; I will kill him with a rock.”
What the man with rock did not realize is that McMullen is a photo journalist. She document what happened next as the man repeatedly hit the bear with the rock.
“He continued doing it, I am going to say a half dozen times and it wasn’t killing the bear. At one point it got up and tried to walk across the road,” said McMullen. “I felt it was my duty to take pictures and document what was going on. So, I put my sadness aside and went into working mode.”
The OPP did arrive on the scene but it’s the OSPCA that is investigating to find out what happened is a case of animal cruelty or a citizen doing their best to euthanize an injured animal.
Some of McMullen’s photos were published in Thursday’s paper and they are sparking discussion on the issue.
“There are animal sanctuaries, the MNR could have been called, and the OPP could have been called. There are much more humane ways of dealing with the situation,” Says Coreen Patchett.
The OSPCA will not comment on the ongoing investigation but we know that the man in the photos has been identified and if found guilty of animal cruelty he could face a fine up to $60,000 and two years in jail.
OSPCA Inspector Natalie Rizzuiti says in cases like this the OPP should be contacted so an injured animal can be put down with a gun.
“An animal is not to be caused unnecessary pain and suffering or caused distress so in cases like this where there is a need for the animal to be humanly euthanized it should be done in a way that has been deemed humane.”
McMullen is hoping her photos will make people think about what happens to animals when they are hit by cars and encourage them to do the right thing.
“And in a case like this, leave the animal where it is and let the authorities take over.”
According to police the number of wildlife/vehicle collision has increased substantially in 2013. In our region alone there have been more than 2,100 reported. Police are urging drivers to be on the lookout for animals, especially at dawn and at dusk.