The case of a baby deer raised by a Manitoba Hutterite colony and shot dead and by conservation officers is worrying a group that rehabilitates animals.
The story has prompted outrage by the many people, who have decried the actions of the officers as cruel and shameful.
But Lisa Tretiak, president of the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, is worried the lesson s getting lost in the story is that people shouldn't be taking in wildlife in the first place.
"I'm really kind of scared about what's going on with this story in that people are now assuming they're going to take responsibility for any animal that they find — that they're going to raise them themselves. Wildlife rehabilitation is not a hobby," she said.
Tretiak says in the case of baby deer, even if they are orphaned, another doe will adopt them if left alone.
The Manitoba deer, called Bambi or Bob, was living on the Windy Bay Hutterite colony near the community of Pilot Mound after being found orphaned last summer.
The fawn was found when it was accidentally struck by a piece of machinery. It wasn't seriously hurt but colony members took care of it and bottle-fed it and let it go, though it tended to stay on the colony.
Shot in front of residents
On Feb. 2, conservation officers shot it in front of shocked members of the colony, many of whom saw Bambi writhing on the ground before dying and being taken away.
The officers were sent after someone called wildlife officials with concern about the deer getting bigger. The person was concerned about the safety of children and just wanted the animal to be relocated, colony member Evie-Lynn Maendel told CBC News on Wednesday.
Now the province is investigating how the case was handled.
Jack Harrigan, the department's manager of compliance and field services, has said the officers determined there was little chance of reintroducing the deer into the wild.
However, they should have taken the deer off site rather than shooting it in front of people.
Tretiak says if the animal wasn't injured it should have been left in the grass in the ditch where it was found.
And the sooner that groups like hers can be brought in to help wild animals, the better, she said.