The Saskatoon Police Service says one of its officers who was seen shooting a cat in the early hours of Friday morning was forced to kill the animal because it was injured and in distress.
Police spokesperson Kelsie Fraser said the cat was destroyed by a police officer trained to euthanize badly injured animals.
The incident was witnessed by at least one member of the public who saw it from the Dogg House sports bar, across the road.
Fraser said an animal destruction officer was called by two other officers who came across the injured cat while working in the area.
“An animal destruction officer did attend to the scene and confirmed that the cat had been struck by a vehicle likely,” said Fraser.
“It was suffering quite badly and beyond the point of treatment so they did opt to destroy the cat.”
Officers left the animal on the lawn near Poulin’s Pest Control on Idylwyld Drive N., across the street from the Dogg House, to be picked up by the City of Saskatoon Animal Control Agency.
Dogg House manager Trevor MacKinnon said he was standing outside smoking with his friend when he saw the police vehicle, an unmarked SUV, pull up outside Poulin’s Pest Control and put its warning lights on.
He went inside but his friend witnessed the incident.
“We didn’t know what [kind of animal], we kind of assumed a raccoon or a skunk, something like that,” said MacKinnon.
“We went outside and we decided to take a walk over and see what it was. We noticed it was a cat and we were like, what the hell? Why would he kill a cat and then just throw it on the lawn?”
Fraser stressed the cat was only killed because it was too badly injured to receive treatment.
“We intended to stop a cat from suffering. It wasn’t anything more untowards than that,” said Fraser.
SPCA received complaint
The Saskatoon SPCA confirmed it received a cruelty complaint about the incident and has been in contact with the police service.
SPCA spokesperson Jasmine Hanson said shooting a cat does not necessarily constitute cruelty.
“In fact, if an animal is determined to be in immediate distress and suffering from inconsolable pain, euthanasia or instantly killing it is considered the most humane outcome and not an offence under the Animal Protection Act,” said Hanson.
She said the SPCA’s animal protection officers are obligated to investigate all complaints they receive.
She said she has never heard of an incident like this occurring in the past.