Penticton continues to hold off on cull

Penticton continues to hold off on a deer cull, although the city of Cranbrook recently announced it plans to move ahead with a second cull of up to 30 mule deer.

Mayor Dan Ashton said they are still waiting the outcome of an Invermere court case on the issue before taking action.

“Common sense tells us we should wait until that court case is finished, because there are all these litigious societies out there these days,” he said.

The length of that wait is currently up in the air.

According to Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, the district has made an application to have the Invermere Deer Protection Society, who is suing them, removed from the lawsuit.

“The trial isn’t moving ahead because the society isn’t doing any work around that,” he said. “We are hoping if they don’t do the work we can get the case dismissed or at least have it go to trial so it can be resolved.”

The problem began in December of 2011 when Invermere hired a contractor to move ahead with a cull and the group sued the district claiming emotional damage from the trauma of imagining the deer being killed.

The group was successful in getting an injunction that slowed down the cull, but when it couldn’t get a second the district moved ahead with culling 19 deer.

The lawsuit has continued to wind its way through the courts, with a judge asking last year that the group prove it is a functioning society.

Taft believes it is the society’s intention to drag this out as long as possible, so they can delay culls in not just  Invermere, but other parts of the province as well.

“It is very frustrating, because of the time we've spent, as well as spending more than $30,000 on legal fees, which is a waste of taxpayer dollars," he said.

As the animals move into more cities and towns, deer culling has become a controversial and emotional issue.

While Penticton continues to hold off on the action, Ashton said it is likely they will do another deer count, so they have as much information on the matter as possible.

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