A City of Victoria employee has been fired for taking the head of a cougar shot by police.
A city spokesperson confirmed the dismissal but offered few other details.
The cougar was killed by Victoria police in late November after being spotted in the Selkirk Waterfront area of the city, west of downtown.
VicPD said at the time officers made the “difficult decision” to slay the full-grown animal due to the risk it posed to public safety.
A spokesperson for the Conservation Officer Service told CBC News that after the animal was killed, the carcass was taken at some point to the city’s public works yard.
Conservation officers eventually went to look at the carcass and found it had no head, spurring an investigation under the Wildlife Act.
That investigation led to enforcement against one person, who received a written warning.
“The cougar head was promptly returned to [the Conservation Officer Service]. The individual was co-operative throughout the investigation and expressed remorse for their actions,” the spokesperson wrote.
“Conservation Officers have discretion when issuing enforcement action, which can range from a written warning to initiating a court proceeding.”
The spokesperson could not comment on the firing.
CBC News has asked the City of Victoria for more information on the dismissal: when it took place, the terminated employee’s department, if any other factors led to the dismissal and if a grievance or labour relations process was expected to result from the termination. The city spokesperson did not provide answers to those questions.
CBC has also asked CUPE 50, which represents city workers, for comment but did not get a response.