A necropsy on a fox killed last week at the Whitehorse airport shows it died as a result of a gunshot and localized blunt force trauma.
Witnesses claimed through social media the fox was shot and paralyzed, run over by a vehicle and finally kicked to death by airport maintenance workers.
"The fox died from the result of a single gunshot wound and there was some blunt force trauma on the upper shoulder, chest area as well, which we believe resulted from when the employee tried to step on the fox to break its neck," said Allan Nixon, assistant deputy minister of the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works.
The veterinary staff’s report said a gunshot to the chest may not result in immediate death and that it appeared that the animal was dispatched as quickly as possible after the shot.
Nixon said he has talked to the people involved, including the witnesses, and is satisfied the fox was killed as humanely as possible.
"All this stuff about, you know, running over the fox or beating it or whatever, that was just stuff that was made up on the internet. It didn't happen," he said.
Nixon said everyone involved in the incident is trained in firearms use and was using approved weapons. He said it's a job none of the workers likes doing, but it must be done to ensure the safety of planes landing at the airport.
Yukon Humane Society president Shelley Cuthbert said she does not believe the fox was killed humanely and would like a full investigation done.
She said government must look at live trapping and other methods in dealing with animals around the airport.
"There's no reason why that fox couldn't be trapped and relocated," she said. "I realize that at the airport it's difficult because of the tarmac, it's also federal which hinders other authorities from going in there and helping them out, so there needs to be some clear lines set for everybody so that there's a clear path forward."
Cuthbert said residents of the city must also stop feeding wild animals. She said that only ends up causing problems that the animals pay for with their lives.