Back in 2015, British Colombia conservation officer Bryce Casavant made headlines when he declined an order to kill 2 bear cubs that were spotted near a group of people.
This resulted in Casavant being fired from his job, but fast-forward 6 years and the officer is now suing to get his job back. Here's the full story...
Now, it's simply common knowledge that bears and humans do not go hand in hand.
The majority of bear species have proven to be extremely dangerous towards us humans and they are most certainly not an animal to be reckoned with.
Species such as grizzly bears and brown bears are known for being very territorial...
And they will react quickly if they feel surprised or threatened.
These creatures are also unbelievably strong.
On average, a grizzly bear can weigh up to 700 lbs and they can reach speeds of up to forty mph - making it physically impossible for us humans to outrun a bear.
So if a bear was to attack...
We wouldn't stand a chance.
This is why conservationists strive to keep bears as far away from humans as possible...
For the safety of both us and the bears.
Conservation officers work tirelessly here in America and Canada to keep bears as safe as possible...
And they also respond to incidents involving bears, especially when they break into people's homes - which is what brings us back to today's story.
Back in 2015, Bryce Casavant had been dispatched to a mobile home park following a call by worried residents.
A black bear was spotted in the park near the British Colombia town of Port Hardy rummaging through a freezer full of salmon and meat.
When Casavant arrived, he shot and killed the bear on site.
via: GettyThis was under the province’s policy – in which a bear has to be killed if it is seen to be reliant on human food.
But it didn't take the officer long to realize the bear had cubs waiting for her.
via: GettyLocals stressed to the officer that the cubs hadn't been eating from the food supplies in the town, which lead him to make the decision to not shoot the babies.
Casavant instead took the cubs to a veterinarian who assessed them...
via: GettyAnd they were later transferred to the North Island Recovery Centre which went on to release them back into the wild.
Seems fair enough, right?
Because of Casavant's refusal to follow the order to kill the cubs, his supervising officer filed a complaint against him and a day later, a formal Notice of Complaint was issued alleging "the disciplinary default of neglect of duty."
He was then suspended pending an investigation into the allegation, before being fired shortly afterward.
Casavant wasn't willing to go down without a fight, however, and he has spent the last few years fighting his termination.
And finally, last year...
The British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.
"I feel like the black clouds that have hung over my family for years are finally starting to part," Casavant told The Guardian, "But the moment is bittersweet – my firing should have never happened in the first place."
via: Facebook"I kept fighting so that I could clear my name. I’ve long stood for public service, honor, and integrity. It’s how I was raised and how I’ve raised my daughter. I really feel that I was targeted."
Casavant has been a leading critic of the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service's practices since he was fired...
And he has been a vocal advocate of establishing independent oversight over the body.
He has also helped others who are opposing the way BC conservation officers carry out their duties, with many criticizing them for killing bears too readily.
Although Casavant got justice in some form...
He still hasn't been allowed to return to his former position as a British Columbia conservation officer.
So on February 23rd, Casavant filed a lawsuit asking his employer to return his job and all the pay he has lost in the last 5 years.
In the filing at the British Columbia Supreme Court, he is also seeking a declaration that he is still a conservation officer and was never legally dismissed, as per the Toronto Star.
Casavant told the publication:
"I have always maintained that a constable cannot be ordered to kill — it's an illegal order. Public service policing has been my passion and chosen career path since my early twenties. It is disgraceful and frustrating to be continually denied the ability to immediately return to my post."
Casavant's lawyer is asking the court to reinstate his position, with a salary of approximately $55,000 to $75,000, as well as back pay...
And he is also asking the court to set a number of back wages owed to him, as this was not addressed in the Court of Appeal's ruling.
"Mr. Casavant simply wants the job which was unlawfully taken from him back. The process that was used to take his job was declared void by the Court of Appeal, so there is no lawful basis for the province to deny him that," his lawyer, Arden Beddoes said.
We hope that the lawsuit goes Casavant's way...
And we hope he is able to return to the job he is clearly so passionate about very soon.
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