After watching nearly two dozen of deer get stuck in cracked river ice while making a dangerous crossing in New Brunswick, local residents took matters into their own hands.

Rather than watch the deer suffer and eventually die in shallow water or as a result of their injuries, some residents have taken to shooting the animals as a way of putting them out of their misery, according to CTV News.

After spending most of the winter in the interior, the deer typically migrate to a deer yard where they spend the remaining part of the winter. But thin ice on the Northwest Miramichi River has been creating dangerous conditions.

In just two days, local authorities received 15-20 calls of deer trapped in the ice. Either they’ve busted through the ice and are stuck or the injuries they suffered by slipping on the ice are too severe to survive.

“When they splice, their legs go to the sides and do a lot of internal damage, and they can no longer walk after that. There’s nothing we can do for them, even if we get them ashore, there’s so much damage done that there’s nothing we can do, we have to dispose of them,” New Brunswick Department of Energy and Resource Development biologist Eric Sullivan told CTV Atlantic.