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Stop hunting in Coquitlam: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA is wading into a political debate in Coquitlam to stop hunting of animals for trophy or sport within the city limits.

The BC SPCA is wading into a political debate in Coquitlam to stop hunting of animals for trophy or sport within the city limits.

This week, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a news release on its position on the city's proposed ban, saying the non-profit group is opposed to bow and arrow as well as firearm hunting.

The release comes a week before the city will hold a town hall meeting on a draft regulation that would make the use of bows and arrows, and firearms, illegal. City council called the meeting last month after several hunters spoke at city hall meetings to urge council to reconsider and allow them to continue killing certain wildlife.

"We know that there will be individuals [at the town hall meeting] opposing a ban on bow hunting and we hope there will also be voices heard speaking in favour of the bylaw to restrict this form of hunting," said Sara Dubois, manager of wildlife services for the BC SPCA. "The BC SPCA is on record as strongly opposing bow hunting because of concerns about pain and suffering inflicted on animals who may not die instantaneously."

Coquitlam city staff are recommending the new hunting prohibition after a bear was wounded last summer by bow hunters on a blueberry farm. The injured bear escaped the farm and wandered into Minnekhada Regional Park; it was later destroyed by conservation officers.

Currently, less than 4% of Coquitlam is open to firearm discharge - much of it around farmland near the eastern boundary of the city, Goose Island, the foreshore beside the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Area and the waters of the Pitt River.

The proposed bylaw, for which council has already passed three readings, would not apply to the city's two gun clubs.

The town hall meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Coquitlam city hall (3000 Guildford Way). For more information, call the clerk's office at 604-927-3010 or email clerks@coquitlam.ca.

jwarren@tricitynews.com