Tie Lake man fined for killing wildlife

Man sentenced to $14,000 fine, five-year hunting and firearms bans.

A Tie Lake man has been fined $14,000 and sentenced to hunting and firearms bans for five years after illegally shooting a deer and a black bear in his yard in separate incidents a few years ago.

Frank Velba, a 73-year-old retired electrician, was also issued a no contact order with a Tie Lake neighbour who confronted him after one shooting.

Velba, who was charged and pleaded guilty to a number of wildlife offences, used a .22 calibre rifle to shoot the whitetail deer in the gut after it ate flowers from his garden on Sept. 5, 2016.

Velba initially told Conservation Officers Services that he shot the deer with a .177 pellet gun, but admitted a month later to authorities it was with a more powerful .22 calibre, which he owned illegally without a valid firearms license.

In addition to the deer shooting, Velba’s fines also covered another incident in June 2015 where he killed a black bear by shooting it less than 20 feet away where it ran up a tree, fell down and died, according to a witness.

In a brief address to the Cranbrook Provincial Court chambers and Judge Lynal Doerksen, Velba apologized for his actions.

“I’m sorry it happened, it will never happen again,” Velba told the court. “I wish it never happened.”

The circumstances of the case were jointly presented to Judge Doerksen for consideration, while crown and defence lawyers argued over the size of the fines.

Doerksen said while nuisance deer are a problem in the East Kootenay, Velba’s actions were disturbing. Guilty pleas in the face of overwhelming evidence, along with no criminal history, were mitigating factors, however, misleading conservation officers was an aggravating factor, said Doerksen, noting Velba was lucky he wasn’t charged with obstruction.

“It’s an affront to the law and the regulations that he lied to the Conservation Officers, that he tried to deflect blame from himself,” said Doerksen.

Speaking to the Cranbrook Townsman after attending the sentencing, Perry Van Mill, a neighbour who lives across Tie Lake Shore Rd. from Velba, said he was inside his house when he heard what sounded like a gun shot.

“My daughter said, ‘Dad, somebody just shot a deer; I saw it,’” Van Mill said.

Van Mill left his house and immediately went over to confront Velba, adding that he witnessed Velba putting a gun away in his garage. His daughter went over to try and comfort the deer, which took approximately 20 minutes to die.

Van Mill then went and called the authorities.

Velba’s lawyer argued his client didn’t want to finish off the deer with another shot because the initial gunshot attracted bystanders that made the area unsafe for discharging a firearm.

Van Mill said he was satisfied with the sentencing.

“Excellent, I think so,” Van Mill said. “…The judge was smart, he figured it out. He knew what was going on.”

In addition to the deer incident, Velba also pleaded guilty to shooting a bear in June 2015.

According to the joint submission, another neighbour witnessed Velba shoot a black bear from less than 20 feet away that ran up a tree, fell out and died.

A percentage of Velba’s fines will be directed to the Habitat Conservation Fund.

Just Posted

Homes evacuated at Wycliffe due to grass fire

Five homes have been evacuated and Pattison Road and Wycliffe Store Road… Continue reading

Bring your food bank donations to JulyFest parade

The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank, along with Kimberley Royal Bank, will… Continue reading

The Kimberley Farmers’ Market is growing

A new Creston winery, more fresh produce, and ready to eat food are some of the new additions.

Car show runs ahead this September

Radium Show & Shine gears up for annual event September 14-15

1978 Allan Cup Dynamiters to reunite in August

Reunion for championship team set for August 17 - 20, 2018.

Watch: Spartan Race at Kimberley Alpine Resort

This weekend the Spartan Race took place at Kimberley Alpine Resort. Participants… Continue reading

B.C. city wants pot punted from farmland

Concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

Most Read