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A St. John's lawyer has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the Newfoundland and Labrador government is responsible for injuries and deaths cause by road collisions with moose.


Moose are a common sight near highways in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC) ((CBC))

Lawyer Ches Crosbie claims the province's failure to control the moose population is to blame for the more than 700 moose-vehicle accidents reported annually.

Moose are not native to the island of Newfoundland.

"Wildlife practices of the defendant have allowed the moose population on the Island to reach numbers in the range of 120,000 to 200,000 … multiplying the danger of moose collisions for users of the highways," says a statement of claim filed Monday.

Two men, Hugh George, 59, and Ben Bellows, 54, are named as representative claimants in the statement of claim, which has not been certified as a class action.

Both men now use wheelchairs because of the injuries they suffered when their vehicles collided with moose on Newfoundland roads.

George spoke Tuesday at a news conference in St. John's about the proposed class-action suit.

"All I'm after today is to save one life," he said. "That'd be my goal."

Lucy Stoyles also spoke at the news conference. Her daughter, Marie, was sent to hospital last October after a moose-vehicle collision last October.

"Unless it happens to you and your family, it doesn't impact you, and it didn't impact us until our daughter had the accident," said Stoyles, a city councillor in Mount Pearl, near St. John's.

"Even today, when we talk about it, it's still very emotional and very draining for us and our family. We've given up an awful lot over the past year … because of a moose."  

The accident left Marie Stoyles, 34, with a cracked skull and broken bones in her face. Her mother said she hasn't fully recovered yet.

Crosbie claims the government must take action to protect drivers by cutting the province's moose population in half; allowing wildlife officials to kill moose that are found near roads; and keeping animals off roads by installing  fences along roads in the province.

"Government made a decision to bring this non-native invasive species here about a hundred years ago," the statement of claim says. "Government has also avoided taking responsibility for managing the hazard it created."

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been tested in court.