Criminal proceedings have been launched into a local government leader on the island of Hiiumaa, after he beat to death a fox cub in the island's capital, Kärdla. Toomas Vannas, administrative head of the Kärdla rural municipality, reportedly said late last week that he was stepping down after the incident, which he said he regretted, only to change his mind, according to daily Õhtuleht.
As reported by ERR News, Vannas slayed the animal with a hammer after it had entered a Kärdla sports shop, claiming self defense as a cornered animal could act unpredictably.
Toomas Rõhu, deputy mayor of Hiiumaa, added at the tie that Vannas regretted the incident, but he still had to leave office.
However, on Tuesday, Õhtuleht reports (link in Estonian), Vannas' representative informed the municipality that he had not submitted an application to resign at his own request over the matter, going back on what he told the authority last Friday.
Environment minister Rene Kokk (EKRE) condemned the killing, calling the act indefensible, adding that clarity needed to be brought on procedures when wild animals find their way into human habitation – a common occurrence even in Tallinn.
The animal defense league (Loomakaitse Liit) and animal rescue group (Loomapäästegrupp) have launched a petition aimed at improving animal welfare protection in Estonia, which received over 41,000 signatures by the weekend.
The PPA has initiate criminal proceedings against Vannas on the basis of a section of the Penal Code relating to animal cruelty, Õhtuleht reports.
Editor: Andrew Whyte