SALEM, Ore. -- The controversial killing of a bobcat kitten in Eugene last month took center stage at the Oregon capitol as the House Interim Committee on Natural Resources heard public testimony.
Capt. Casey Thomas, the Fish and Wildlife division director for Oregon State Police, told the committee the trooper involved responded to Oak Hill School on Oct. 15 after a bobcat kitten was found inside a classroom and captured by Lane County deputies.
Thomas said the animal was acting unusually, and the trooper consulted with officials at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife before killing it using blunt-force trauma.
"While taking into account his 20-plus years work experience, the trooper felt euthanizing the bobcat was the most humane choice in this case," Thomas said.
But wildlife advocates told the committee that bashing the animal over the head was not humane. In total, 62 veterinarians signed a petition saying killing the animal that way violated Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines.
Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense told the committee the animal didn't need to be killed.
"Instead of the kitten receiving a helping hand or a little compassion by being let out the window, relocated or sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center, it was treated with extreme brutality," Fahy said.
Eugene Rep. Marty Wilde said he said he would like to see a new policy where law enforcement consults with veterinarians before euthanizing an animal.
"We can't change the past. Decisions were made. I don't dispute that people were acting in good faith," Wilde said. "But we can change the way we do that in the future."
House Interim Committee on Natural Resources Chair Rep. Brad Whitt said he wants to form a review group made up of House and Senate members and outside organizations to explore if improvements to wildlife polices need to be made.