A DEBATE has erupted between the RSPCA and Police Association over a policeman's decision to shoot an injured kangaroo.The image shows a police cocking the trigger and pointing his revolver at an injured kangaroo in a Melbourne street.It was an emotional scene for animal lovers and wildlife carers, a scene that could have only one result.
The big kangaroo was hit by a car and severely injured before struggling on to tram tracks in Plenty Rd, Bundoora.Police phoned for an animal ranger to assess the kangaroo and its badly broken leg, but there was no one available.
The sergeant raised his .38 revolver and did what he had to do. A police spokesman said the kangaroo was unpredictable and might have injured somebody or limped back on to the major road and caused a collision.
Dr Hugh Wirth of the RSPCA said it was inhumane to kill the kangaroo in more than one shot and the animal should have been assessed before being euthanised.
"Two shots can’t be humane,” Dr Wirth said.
“One shot yes. One shot has to be put into the base of the brain so that it knocks out all the vital centres in one go.“If you don’t know where the vital centres are in the base of the brain of the kangaroo, you don’t shoot it.”
Dr Wirth said as the drought continued in regional Victoria there would be more kangaroos coming into urban environments."It's becoming more common because we are in the 13th year of a drought and there are lots of kangaroos surrounding Melbourne.
"They come into the outer suburbs and get tangled up because they don’t understand."But the actions were defended by the Police Association and hierarchy."An experienced sergeant humanely disposed of the roo with two shots," the police spokesman said.
Police Association secretary Sen Sgt Greg Davies said country police officers were often required to put down injured wildlife."It’s not common in urban areas, but police quite regularly in country areas have to put down injured animals of all makes and models and kangaroos are not exempt,’’ he said.
"I would have put down 20 animals in my time, perhaps more. City people think kangaroos are like Skippy, but they can actually be quite vicious animals.’’Sen Sgt Davies said police had no choice but to humanely deal with an injured animal when no alternative was available.