Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16258
Classification: Vehicular
Animal: other wildlife
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Saturday, Feb 6, 2010


Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 1 files available

Alleged:
» Craig George Younker
» Christopher Roy Gates
» Christian Lund

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

At least several snowmobilers chased down a fox, cornered it with their machines and then proceeded to circle the animal before killing it by running over it numerous times early Saturday morning in a field adjacent to the Hurry Road in Charlottetown.

The gruesome discovery was made by Paul and Gail Hurry, who live across the road from the field, when awoke and looked out their kitchen window.

“Probably around midnight last night we were just getting ready to go to bed and we heard snowmobiles, but thought nothing of it because we hear them passing the house all the time, but this time it was just non-stop and I said to my husband are they ever going to go and what are they doing and we did not pay anymore attention to it and went to bed,” Gail said.

“When we woke up this morning Paul looked out the window and saw something in the field and went out to investigate and he came back and said it was a fox and the snowmobiles had run it down,” she said.

After looking at the tracks of the machines Paul said “they circled it and circled it before finally running over it. They probably ran it to exhaustion before finally killing it.”

They were not certain how long the machines were in the field, but he said that he looked out he saw “five or six headlights.”
Visibly shaken, Gail said that when her husband came back into the house and told her what he found she could believe it and went to see for herself.

“I saw all the marks they left when they circled him and circled him and cornered him in the open field and he had nowhere to run.” She said they must have run over the animal several times because the body was pushed right into the ground.
Paul said one of his neighbours was wondering if this is some kind of a sport among snowmobilers and is happening in others areas of the province.

The Hurrys contacted the Charlottetown Police Services but were told there is nothing police can do because at the moment there is no way to identify the snowmobiles and it would be impossible to follow the tracks. The only way police could investigate is if someone who witnessed the incident comes forward.

“They were here and gone within minutes,” Paul said, referring to the police.

Gail said she contacted some of her neighbours because she wanted to tell as many people as she could because “to me it was a crime and a crime against the animal and I was devastated.”

The Hurrys live within Charlottetown city limits and the field is part of the former Upton Farm property and “people come to walk their dogs in the field all the time and this could happen to those dogs or our own dog, he said”

The couple does not know where the snowmobilers originated as there are many fields in the area that connect with other fields so it is impossible to really know.

The snowmobile traffic usually begins around midnight and goes until the early hours, Paul said. He said there is a bar and a restaurant in the Maypoint Plaza and snowmobilers tend to congregate there in the evenings.

The remains of the fox have been taken to the Atlantic Veterinary College for investigation.

Gail said her sons have friends who ride snowmobiles and “this is not about snowmobiles, but about what kind of a person would do this.”


Case Updates

Charlottetown Police Services have identified and charged three men in relation to the death of a fox on the northern outskirts of the city last month.

The three men are charged under Section 445 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada - willfully causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail or a $10,000 fine or both. Maximum sentences are rarely imposed, especailly for first time convictions.

The three individuals charged are:

* Craig George Younker, 28, of Winsloe;
* Christopher Roy Gates, 24, of Winsloe; and
* Christian Lund., 28, of Charlottetown.

The three suspects allegedly were involved in the deliberate killing of a fox in a field adjacent to the Hurry Road in early February.

Police believe one of the snowmobilers chased down the animal and deliberately struck it with his machine while a second finished it off. Police also believe a third sledder was involved.

The fox was killed in the early morning of February 6 and it was always believed by the people who found it dead in the field that it was chased by at least several snomobilers, who surrounded it and then killed it by running over it.

When the story broke on The Guardian's website it generated thousands of hits and hundreds of comments from people who said they were enraged such an act of cruelty could occur.

Subsequent stories also generated many comments and it was those comments and other public pressure that some credit with prompting the police into the investigation that led to the charges.
Because the incident cast the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association and its members in such bad light it offered a $500 reward for the names of those involved and the reward was further enhanced by donations from the public. It finally stood at $2,200.

Almost from the outset names were given to the association who gave them to police.

Earlier John Clements, chief conservation officer with the Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry said it is illegal to chase, pursue, harass or worry any wildlife with a motorized vehicle.
The three men will appear in provincial court April 19, at 1 p.m. for a plea on the charges.
Source: The Guardian - March 2, 2010
Update posted on Mar 8, 2010 - 2:16PM 
A necropsy on a dead fox believed to have been killed by snowmobilers late last Friday night near the Hurry Road in the northwest corner of Charlottetown has determined the animal died of severe trauma consistent with being run over by a motorized vehicle.

The necropsy was conducted by a wildlife pathologist at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown and released to police and wildlife officials Friday.

Charlottetown deputy chief Gary McGuigan said the acute injures included a fractured skull, broken vertebrae, a broken pelvis and other extensive internal injuries.

The report didn’t indicate if there was more than one vehicle involved. It would likely be impossible to determine if more than one machine was involved, police said.

The fox was found by neighbours who saw five or more snowmobiles in the area around midnight last Friday.

McGuigan said that police have interviewed several persons of interest and plan to interview several others before wrapping up their investigation. Those persons of interest who may be involved in the incident were identified through tips received from the public.

The P.E.I. Snowmobile Association has offered a $500 reward for the names of the person or persons believed to have killed the fox with their snowmobiles.

Dale Hickox, president of the P.E.I. Snowmobiling Association, said the incident has painted a bad picture of snowmobilers.

Individuals identified by police as responsible for the fox’s death could face a number of charges, including charges of breaking provincial wildlife laws.

It is illegal to chase, pursue, harass or worry any wildlife with a motorized vehicle.

Charges under the Criminal Code of Canada are also possible.
Source: The Guardian - Feb 13, 2010
Update posted on Mar 8, 2010 - 2:14PM 

References

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