British Columbia

Kelowna considering banning spiked fences after moose dies

A conservation officer in the Okanagan is calling for a ban on sharp, spiked fencing around yards after a moose impaled itself and died on Friday.

The young moose is believed to have been impaled trying to hop a fence on Friday

The dead moose was taken away by conservation officers on Friday. (Submitted by Burpee Aitkens)

A conservation officer in the Okanagan is calling for a ban on sharp, spiked fencing around yards after a moose is believed to have impaled itself and died on Friday. 

The young bull moose appears to have became trapped in a residential backyard in Rutland, a neighbourhood in Kelowna and panicked trying to escape. 

"The moose had been impaled in the sternum area," said conservation officer Ken Owens. 

Death by spiked fence is an ongoing issue in the city, he says. 

"When moose go to jump these fences, they drag their weighty midsection across the top rail," Owens told CBC's Daybreak South.

"These metal wrought iron fences with points fashioned like spear tips — they kill moose and deer annually within our city." 

Wildlife living in and near the city is on the rise, Owen says, and more protection is needed to keep the animals safe. 

"We've been working with the city over the last couple years to attempt to get a bylaw to prohibit these wrought iron fences within our community," he said. 

Ryan Smith, a Kelowna city planning director, says the city is very much aware of the issue and that this is not the first time an animal has died because of the sharp fences. 

City working with province on bylaw amendments

The city has been in contact with the Ministry of Environment since last year, asking for guidance and information about the issue. 

"They said we can proceed and do some bylaw amendments to prohibit the metal picket fencing," Smith said. 

"It is something that we are going to consider doing later this spring."

Bylaw amendments take time and consultation, though.  

"I wish it were as simple as just changing the bylaw," he said. "There is an enforcement side of it. If we are going to change the bylaw, who will enforce it and when will they enforce it?"

He said he suspects that, even with a bylaw change, the spiked fences that are already in place will be allowed to remain. New ones wouldn't be sold  — but that involves a conversation with local businesses. 

In the meantime, there's a few things residents can do, he said. 

"Cutting all the top pickets off the fences, that might be a start," Smith said.

"Tennis balls with holes in them on top of the pickets might be a way to go in the interim, too."  

With files from Daybreak South

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