Disabled B.C. man denied goat as 'hunting companion' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Disabled B.C. man denied goat as 'hunting companion'

March 03, 2020 - 6:30 AM

A disabled B.C. man who argued that he should be able to use a goat as a pack animal to help him carry hunting gear and to carry out dead wildlife has lost an appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board.

Peter Forino applied for a permit requesting to use a goat he’d purposed trained as a hunting companion. The goat would carry his hunting gear as he has a physical condition that limits his ability to do so. The goat would also carry out any successful kills on his hunting trips.

According to a Feb. 28 Environmental Appeal Board decision, Forino applied for a “companion” permit so that he could use his pack goat to help him carry gear and wildlife meat when he went hunting. The decision says Forino has a physical condition that limits his ability to carry the extra weight of hunting gear and wildlife meat.

However, in September 2019 the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development denied his application on the basis that the Wildlife Act and its permit regulations had no authority to grant a permit authorizing the use of a pack goat.

Forino appealed the decision, taking it to the Environmental Appeal Board.

According to the decision, the Ministry of Environment does have a list of accommodations for hunters with physical disabilities, such as allowing them to drive in restricted areas or shoot from a vehicle, but using a pack goat isn’t one of them.

While a donkey or a horse can be used as a pack animal while hunting, B.C. regulations specifically make it an offence to hunt with “the use or aid of, a goat or sheep, including… as a pack animal.”

According to the decision, Forino does own horses, but they are draft horses and are trained to work in fields, and it is not easy to train them as pack horses.

“Your preference is to use the pack goat as you have already trained it in this manner,” reads the decision. “You contend that your only option for help while hunting is the use of your pack goat.”

The decision says Forino had several conversations with Ministry staff who told him the law would need to be changed in order for a permit to be granted.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service told Forino the reason for the ban on goats was to protect wild goat and sheep populations from diseases carried by domesticated animals. Forino suggests he take his pack goat to a vet who could then certify that the goat is healthy.

Forino also argues that as it is legal to use his pack goat to carry food, water and clothes while hiking on Crown land, it makes no sense that the goat is prohibited from carrying hunting gear on the same land.

Environmental Appeal Board chair Darrell LeHouillier says that while the department has the authority to grant a permit authorizing a physically disabled person to be assisted by a “hunting companion” to “track, kill and retrieve big game wounded by the disabled person,” the companion “should be a human.”

The board chair goes onto say the “goat lacks” other “capabilities” needed to fall into the criteria of a “hunting companion” for a permit to be issued. The decision says issuing a permit would also directly conflict with hunting regulations that prohibit the use of goats making it “illogical and inconsistent.”

The decision says the Environmental Appeal Board is unable to amend hunting permit regulations to create a new type of permit to allow Forino to use his goat. The regulations could only be amended by a minister or the B.C. Legislature.

In dismissing the appeal, the board chair recommends Forino write to his MLA requesting the law be changed.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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