Court of Appeal Temporarily Prevents Longueuil Deer Slaughter

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The Court of Appeal prevents temporarily stops the slaughter of deer in Longueuil

The City of Longueuil must stop killing deer, according to the Court of Appeal of Quebec, the time to settle the debate on the merits.

All of the white-tailed deer in Parc Michel-Chartrand in Longueuil will be saved, at least until next April.

In a decision handed down on Wednesday, a bench of three judges of the Court of Appeal orders the City of Longueuil to stay its decision to authorize an orderly hunt for deer in Michel-Chartrand Park.

It is therefore only a temporary victory for the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and for the Animal Rescue Service, which thus succeeds in putting a stop to animal hunting. crossbow that the Municipality wanted to carry out this fall in order to solve the problem of overpopulation of the park.

The Court of Appeal concludes that by refusing the stay, the judge in a way settled the merits of the dispute without having heard the parties present all of their arguments.

Among the elements assessed by the Court of Appeal, the issues of irreparable harm and the balance of convenience weighed very heavily in reaching the conclusion that the trial judge instance erred in law.

On the one hand, the judge draws a clear conclusion regarding the harm that would be suffered if the stay were not granted: the deer(s) would be killed, so that a possible judgment on the merits favorable to the SSA [Animal Rescue Service], Meney [plaintiff Florence Meney] and intervenor SPCA would lead to irreparable consequences. This is the most serious prejudice that a plaintiff on a stay can suffer if the balance of convenience is analyzed from his point of view.

On the other hand, when he wondered about the prejudice that the City would suffer if the stay were granted, the judge noted that the decision to carry out a controlled hunt of deer served the ;public interest because of the inconvenience caused by the overcrowding problem which would be aggravated by the reprieve.

However, this is where the judge took a wrong turn, believes the Court of Appeal: With respect, he should rather ask himself whether the inconveniences that would be suffered by the City between now and the judgment the merits of the appeal, in the event that the stay were granted, would be more serious than those which would result for the appellants from the immediate slaughter of the herd. This error in principle justifies the intervention of the Court, rules the court.

The three judges argue that the deer whelping period begins in the spring. It is therefore likely that the livestock population will be relatively stable by then and that, insofar as the case on the merits proceeds quickly, the damage to the public interest invoked by the City should not worsen, whereas that which the appellants would incur if the deer slaughter began would become irreparable.

The Montreal SPCA was quick to publish a press release in which its general manager, Sophie Gaillard, is delighted with this decision and says she is especially relieved to know that the deer in Michel-Chartrand Park are safe until that the case can be heard on the merits.

The SPCA intends to assert that the status of sentient beings which has been granted to animals in the Civil Code of Quebec in 2015 demands that the decisions taken with regard to them take into account their well-being as well as their interest in living.

Opponents of hunting have been asking since the beginning of this saga to Ville de Longueuil to implement an operation to capture and relocate the animals, an operation which, according to some experts, could cause deaths and cause unnecessary suffering for the animals.

The overpopulation of Michel-Chartrand Park is not questioned by the stakeholders. It is estimated that this 1.8 square kilometer green space can support 10 to 15 white-tailed deer. The population has exploded in recent years to some 108 animals, a herd whose size is causing severe environmental degradation and causing numerous collisions.

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