Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A protest is planned outside Honda Center Monday, with seven animal welfare organizations calling for the suspension of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner, who has been charged with violating British Columbia’s hunting laws in connection with the killing of a grizzly bear.

The groups have likened Stoner killing a bear to NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s involvement in a dog-fighting ring that prompted his suspension

According to The Vancouver Sun, Stoner has been charged under British Columbia’s Wildlife Act with two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, and one count each of hunting out of season, hunting without a license and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife.

All five charges stem from the act’s requirement that hunters must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents whose primary residences are in British Columbia and are physically present in the province for the “greater portion of each of six calendar months out of the 12 calendar months” preceding their application for the hunt and date of the actual hunt, Detective Sergeant Cynthia Mann of British Columbia’s Conservation Officer Service’s major investigation unit, told The Sun.

When Stoner sought the license on May 22, 2013, he had spent most of the previous year outside British Columbia, playing for the Minnesota Wild. Stoner signed with the Ducks in 2014.

Stoner issued a statement to The Sun in 2013 after it emailed him a picture of him holding the severed head of the bear on a boat shortly after the kill saying, “I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my license while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May. I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”

The bear was known by those who worked in the area as Cheeky because he would “pop his head up, look at us and stick his tongue out at us,” Robert Johnson of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network told The Sun.

The protest is being conducted in connection with the Ducks home opener. The groups involved are World Animal News, Social Compassion in Legislation, Peace 4 Animals, Union Members for the Preservation of Wildlife, Last Chance for Animals, In Defense of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

—City News Service

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