MNRF would have used lethal force on moose: police

In this supplied photo, a young bull moose strolls behind the Winners shopping plaza on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 to the amazement of onlookers. Cornwall police say the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would have used lethal force on the animal had they shown up on scene. The MNRF was dispatched but not before an officer was forced to shoot the animal dead. (Kim Hurley via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – Despite public outrage on social media over the shooting of a young bull moose Thursday afternoon, Cornwall police say the outcome would have been the same had the ministry showed up on scene.

The police force faced an onslaught of negative social media postings, suggesting a tranquilizer gun should have been used instead and the animal should have been relocated.

“They (the MNRF) advised (that) the tranquilizer gun would not have been an option on October 19th, 2017 and they would have also used lethal force as there was no other option available,” Const. Dan Cloutier said in a release this morning.

The moose was in the area of Blessed Sacrament Drive around 1:40 p.m. – a street that backs on the freeway – when the animal was shot dead by a Cornwall police officer.

“The officer feared for the public’s safety as the moose was about to cross the heavily travelled Hwy 401, where a car/moose collision would have certainly ended in serious bodily harm or death,” Cloutier added.

The city police force also has “limited options when dealing with wild animals, especially large ones,” Cloutier wrote.

After the shooting, Cornwall police say they contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry again in hopes of having the meat donated to the food bank or families in need.

But the ministry did not have resources to handle the dead animal. The meat was about to spoil given the warm temperatures so the carcass was given to someone on scene, police said.

“The decision made by the experienced officer on October 19th, 2017 was a calculated decision and was not taken lightly. We are committed to keeping the citizens of Cornwall safe,” Cloutier wrote.

Police dealt with a second moose this morning in the area near the Cornwall Community Hospital.

That animal was successfully chased back into the bush, according to the CCPS.