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City of Victoria employee fired for decapitating cougar

Head of cougar was cut off while carcass was being stored in a city facility.
Nov. 21 cougar victoria THUMB
A cougar was spotted just before 5 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2023 near Garbally Road off Gorge Road East in Victoria. Residents out walking at that time were warned to avoid the area while police tracked the animal. VIA VICTORIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

The City of Victoria has terminated a city employee who cut the head off a cougar in November.

In a statement, the city said it had “concluded its investigation process into this incident and we can confirm the individual responsible is no longer employed by the city.”

The city confirmed the employee had been fired.

The city worker had initially been given a written warning after the head of a dead cougar was cut off while the carcass was being stored in a city facility.

Victoria police shot and killed the cougar on Nov. 21 after it was spotted prowling in the Gorge-Selkirk Waterfront area most of the day.

A statement from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service in December said it had concluded an investigation into the matter and enforcement action was taken under the Wildlife Act for the unlawful possession of wildlife.

“The cougar head was promptly returned to the [Conservation Officer Service]. The individual was co-operative throughout the investigation and expressed remorse for their actions,” the statement said.

At the time the cougar was killed, police said the risk to public safety was high because of the proximity of a school, preschool and residences in the area, and the amount of time it would take for conservation officers to arrive.

The Conservation Officer Service said its officers have discretion when issuing enforcement action, which can range from a written warning to initiating court proceedings.

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