We’re Here For Giggles: Family Finds Fawn And Brings It To Shelter . . . Wisconsin Officials Raid Shelter And Kill Fawn

220px-OdocoileusVirginianus2007-07-28fawn32395_460630240667849_1067942150_nA family and animal shelter in Wisconsin is raising questions about the response of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to a fawn being dropped off at the shelter. An Illinois family found the fawn and brought it to the the Society of St. Francis shelter a couple weeks ago. The shelter planned to take the fawn named Giggles to a wildlife shelter. However, the DNR learned of the plan and, according to the shelter, raided the facility and killed the fawn.

The shelter said that nine heavily armed DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs stormed their facility and searched for the baby deer. To the surprise of the shelter, they tranquilized the deer and threw it into a body bag. When shelter employee Ray Schulze objected as it was carried out on a shoulder, the DNR reportedly said that it was the policy of the DNR to kill the animal. The deer was taken off sight and euthanized. Somehow that was much better than allowing the shelter to take the deer to a wildlife shelter.

The DNR explained that it was illegal to possess a wild animal because they are dangerous. That would explain the 12 heavily armed men. It is something like Bambi Meets Rambo.

What is curious is that all wildlife shelters “possess” wildlife. The Illinois shelter appears to have agreed to take the fawn, which would have been taken out of the state. Rather than view this as a transit rather than possession, the state decided to kill the animal to protect it and the public. There would seem a logical distinction to be drawn between a citizen and a shelter. If the DNR cannot find a little wiggle room for the next Giggles, then the law should be changed to add a modicum of logic and mercy to Wisconsin policies.

Source: WISN

86 thoughts on “We’re Here For Giggles: Family Finds Fawn And Brings It To Shelter . . . Wisconsin Officials Raid Shelter And Kill Fawn

  1. The SWAT team probably had nothing to do, so they just go on these raids.
    Like they say, if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

  2. When you need nine heavily armed DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs to subdue a captive fawn, then you know the police state needs to justify its existence. A fearful and clueless public along with a political base and media molded by ‘fear everything’ contribute to outsize powers being given these so-called security forces This was a pathetic display of power that was above and beyond what was needed. It reminded me of the classic Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451…..

  3. Aaaaah yes….. once again, humans prove, they’re the LOWEST form of life…………….. on the entire Planet!

  4. what has happened to any logical are critical thinking? has the whole of our government gone totally insane? nawh, no need to answer that, they have. they’ve jumped off into the deep in. good thing it wasn’t a child found on someone’s front porch? these basturds has just lost any sign of being human, or any of our human ideas of love, compassion, mercy, goodwill. these assassins just wants to kill something, hey, anything or anyone. so folks, ya need to watch your backs, your pets, and your family. i hear it’s open season on us civilian and your family pets.

  5. Thank G-d! Now I feel its safe for me to visit Madison, with my almost college age teen. I was thinking Penn. State had an edge over Wisc, but now that law enforcement has committed to protecting state residents from dangerous (young) adolescent deer, my entire thinking has been changed.

    I’m still uneasy about the gendarme not immediately blowing away the deer. Who knows what damage that animal could have wrought during that “gap” between the deer being tranquilised, and the beast being put to the sword!

  6. I left a voicemail on the phone of the lady spokesperson at DNR, who is conveniently on vacation this week. I was polite, but urged her to look in the mirror and examine her own conscience, explaining that a police state in America is here and getting stronger, thanks to people with her kind of attitude. If everyone started discretely writing or phoning individuals like her, every time this kind of story goes viral, I think it will be a reality check to the clueless bureaucrats out there. In another news article, this woman said no warning was given, because ‘you wouldn’t expect a SWAT team to give a warning to a drug dealer.’ Incredible.

  7. I saw this story late last night, and at first thought is was from The Onion. Surely not, I sez to myself. But checking a couple of other sources confirms the fact that the staff of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have officially lost their collective minds.

    A public shaming is too good for them.

  8. Heavily armed DNR personnel! Those squirrels must be getting awfully dangerous ?:). But seriously state and federal agencies have lost all perspective and judgement. This type of behavior put baby deer and humans at risk.

  9. As worthy of protest and civil disobedience, as a way of brooming out these psychopathic misfits, as any other lynching.

  10. After 9/11, I was in the Airline PIlots Security Alliance to arm pilots. We ran into intense opposition from the Bush administration against it, yet Congress passed the law allowing that. I found out that there are nearly a couple of hundred Federal agencies that have armed personnel. In fact, I had a Dept. of Agriculture agent come to the cockpit to inform me that he was armed. I asked him if the gophers in MN are that big that he needs a gun.

    So this one is not too surprising that the minions of the “law” feel that they need to be armed to the teeth at all times. It is simply the way of any bureaucracy that they feel the need to demonstrate their power, no matter the subject or reason. I certainly think that the trickle down effect is in play with the Governor of WI who feels that he is dictator and can do as he pleases. I hope that this is raised in WI when the Guv runs again to remind people how they treat fawns and other critters like citizens.

  11. I have a neighbor who found a fawn on his property and raised it to maturity, he finally opened the gate and she went on her way and came back from time to time to say hello. She did that for about a year and then stopped coming. One assumes she found a buck and had fawns of her own.

    Deer can be sent back into the wild as can most animals. There was no earthly reason to do this. But then didnt some environmentalists call for the execution of the polar bear cub, Knut?

  12. Wi. is a very environmentally conscious state. Most citizens support that. However, I have seen over my 3 decades living here the DNR wardens evolving into a gestapo like environmental unit. There is a problem in this state w/ the deer population called chronic wasting disease. It’s not a faux problem, it is something that needs to be controlled. Chronic wasting disease is akin to mad cow disease. We cheeseheads eat a lot of venison. So, vigilance is righteous. However, people I know who are hunters have told me many stories much worse than this involving the DNR and deer. The DNR’s vigilance is not limited to deer. They take draconian steps in all things environmental. “DNR Wardens, they’re protecting the environment, they’re protecting you, and they’re armed.”

  13. I just cannot understand why the automatic policy of the DNR is to kill a baby deer who is healthy. I also cannot understand why a SWAT team was necessary. Did they think the shelter would stash the contraband fawn away or spirit the deer across the border? Amazing.

  14. I’m not so troubled about euthanizing the deer as I am about the extreme show of force. There are plenty of valid reasons and law for not wanting the deer transported and the shelter should have known the state law related to caring for wild animals. Most likely, the deer never needed “rescuing” to begin with. I don’t think deer are helicopter parents.

    However, using a virtual swat team was way over the top. This was DNR Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer’s response to questions about the use of force:

    “If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up.”

    Really. She thinks a bunch of aging hippies caring for animals should be treated like violent drug traffickers? I wonder if the DNR so much as googled these people or checked for criminal history before the raid.

  15. The video link Anonymously Posted provided was very interesting. Did you hear the Warden Supervisor justify what they did? How do they expect anyone to have respect for the law when they do stuff like this?

  16. Simms:

    “I don’t think deer are helicopter parents.”

    they are indeed at least for a year or until the next years birth.

  17. @bron

    “I don’t think deer are helicopter parents.”

    they are indeed at least for a year or until the next years birth.”

    bron, what I meant was that the doe does not stay by the fawn every second. It must leave to feed. Here’s a good explanation:


    It’s almost never a good idea to “rescue” a fawn or any other baby wild animal. But that’s really beside the point. The issue here is the extreme overreaction by the DNR. However, I don’t think that a fawn should be killed because someone made the mistake of “rescuing” it.

  18. Simms:

    I have a small herd of deer I have watched for years, the mother and fawns [twins] feed together all of the time. Now I dont see them 24/7 but they are always together, in my yard, while the fawns still have spots.

  19. I read of this at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/1/13-wisconsin-officials-raid-animal-shelter-kill-ba/

    The biggies that caught my eye were:
    “[There were] nine [Department of Natural Resources] agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Mr. Schulze told WISN 12. “It was like a SWAT team.”
    Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer told WISN 12 that the law requires DNR agents to euthanize wild animals because of their potential danger.

    The station asked if the raid could have been done in a less costly manner by making a phone call first.

    “If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” the supervisor responded.

    We have a hammer, so everything is a nail.

    Baby deer is on the same level as a drugs bust.
    Thirteen heavily armed heros.

    Beware the savage bambi !!!
    I’m not kidding. Even rabbits can be extremely lethal…


    Defaulting on your student loan?
    Department of Edcation have a freaking SWAT team. Defaulting students have a history of resisting using automatic weapons and explosives.

  20. I’ll bet a phone call in the beginning could have solved this issue without all this mess.

    Animal shelter: “Hello”
    DNR: “This is XYZ with the state DNR. We heard a baby deer was being stored at your facility”
    AS: Yes, someone dropped it off and we’re going to move it to a wildlife refuge.
    DNR: Ok, just so you know the law doesn’t allow the keeping of wildlife, do you have a timetable for this?
    AS: We planned to move it out tomorrow.
    DNR: Sounds good

  21. MB,

    You’re correct…. But think…. It would have been a better use depending if a yearling or not…

  22. It would appear as if the cretins operating the levers of power within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are operating under the same rules as their tax feeding parasitical ilk from the Seattle Office of Civil Rights.

    This is simply another in a long line of federal, state and local government waste, fraud and abuse under the guise of the “law”.

  23. Get over it people. Deer overpopulation has become a real problem with devastating consequences to the ecosystem. Native vegetation, already under pressure from invasive plants, is being decimated, in some cases to the point of extinction. To maintain healthy natural areas, there should be no more than 14 individual deer per square mile, yet in most places of the Midwest there are up 3 and 4, times that many. In the absence of sufficient natural predation, we simply should not be trying to rescue an animal that is causing as much harm through overpopulation.

    Two points to bear in mind here: the fawn may not have been orphaned, but merely temporarily separated from its mother, in which case, the family’s interference ironically helped bring about its death. Or, natural processes, if allowed to play out, would mean the fawn was not meant survive. However, the fawn’s death may mean survival for the offspring of other species, possibly wolves, for instance, which are more deserving of our concern.

    I wish more people would develop a greater appreciation and concern for native vegetation and get over the exaggerated charisma of animals like deer and rabbits.

  24. The Wisconsin DNR has a Facebook page. I am not signed up with Facebook, but somebody who is tells me they are being blasted in the comments section.

    As more information comes to light, seems the agents rounded up all the staff and held them at bay (apparently at gunpoint). When people tried to take pictures of the raid, cell phones were confiscated and files deleted. The warrant allegedly said it was for the deer, which they knew was in the barn, but claims are being made that agents searched the residential area and entire premises. As more comes out, the uglier it looks.

    Here is a link to the WDNR Facebook page:

  25. OS – Thanks for the link. Following are two of their posts:

    “Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity. None of our staff take joy in these situations. The department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild. In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce. Wardens did request voluntary compliance from the facility. When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant. We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.”


    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal nervous system disease known to naturally infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk. Though it shares features with diseases like mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep, it is a distinct disease known to only affect members of the deer family. CWD has been discovered in wild deer, elk, or moose in 17 states, including Wisconsin. Deer that are taken into captivity in areas of the state where CWD has been discovered are required to be euthanized. There are no licensed rehabilitation facilities in the state which are authorized to rehab deer in a CWD zone. State and federal laws prohibit the movement of deer taken from the wild and held in captivity illegally from being transferred to a rehab facility out of state without authorization. Learn more about CWD on our website here: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wildlifehealth.html.

  26. If it makes you feel any better, Big Mama is raising triplets this year and they are all fat and sassy!

    Though I am no apologist for the paramilitary style, the police state or the sundry semi-covert armed agencies that sit athwart the fearfully obedient remnants of our society, the DNR response suggests this likely did happen in the CWD (mad cow disease in deer and elk) containment zone in southern WI, and Giggles could well be a potential vector for a neurological disease that has no known treatment or cure and is a very real threat to deer populations.

    If you come across an “abandoned” fawn–for the love of all that is green and holy, leave poor Giggles alone. Mom is probably stressing out within 100 yards of you, or she is off having a well-deserved lunch. Fawns can exhibit extremely low heart rate that allows them to lay low and avoid predators, so don’t go huggin’ bambi or allow your wretched primate offspring to pose for photos, or load the little cutie into the minivan etc., as you may stop their precious little angel hearts. Enjoy the moment and move your troop on down the trail.

  27. via DavidM:

    “Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity. None of our staff take joy in these situations. “

    So two heavily armed DNR agents were assigned to this very distressing mission.

    Seven heavily armed DNR agents went along with them. This was not because their presence was required for carrying out the mission. They went along to give emotional support to their colleaques – y’know group hugs, affirmative exclamations, patting and stoking, more group hugs, etc.
    Four heavily armed deputies also went along. This was to ensure that the nine heavily armed DNR agents did not breach any public decency laws should their supportive stroking and hugging of their colleagues go beyond what they might normally do in the shower room.

    via DavidM:

    When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant.

    via OS:

    As more information comes to light, seems the agents rounded up all the staff and held them at bay (apparently at gunpoint). When people tried to take pictures of the raid, cell phones were confiscated and files deleted.

    They didn’t want anyone else joining in the group hugs, stroking, etc. Things could have gotten out of hand. This was a very emotional mission. Despite all precautions, it seems that the occasion was simply too much for some of them.
    In fairness people, viral YouTubes of heavily armed DNR agents rolling around on the ground, weeping and stroking each other would be a gross intrusion. This was a deeply difficult and emotional mission.

    via OS:

    The warrant allegedly said it was for the deer, which they knew was in the barn, but claims are being made that agents searched the residential area and entire premises.

    They didn’t actually know the deer was in the barn, so they searched everywhere.
    “Baaaambi! Baaambi! Where are you? Are you hiding in the bathrooom? Nooooooooo! Are you hiding in the kitchen? Nooooooo!
    Ooh Ralph. Hug me. Hug me. I’m gonna cry again. Stroke me”

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about.
    This is simply normal procedure.

  28. RTC:

    Or, natural processes, if allowed to play out, would mean the fawn was not meant survive.

    It was God’s Plan that the requirement for nine heavily armed DNR agents and four heavily armed deputies should be thought of as part of a natural process.

  29. It’s VERY distracting to any serious article when there are SIMPLE editing errors, such as the one below:

    “The deer was taken off sight and euthanized. Somehow that was much better than allowing the shelter to take the deer to a wildlife shelter.”

    AGAIN, I URGE you to hire a competent copyeditor!!!

  30. As I said, The Wi. DNR is gestapo like. I have never had any experiences w/ them via environmental or hunting, since I don’t hunt. But people I trust have been telling me this for a long time. The press has been afraid to challenge them because we have a very timid, go along to get along, media her in Wi. Cheeseheads like for everyone to be nice.

  31. Nick Spinelli wrote: “The Wi. DNR is gestapo like. I have never had any experiences w/ them via environmental or hunting, since I don’t hunt. But people I trust have been telling me this for a long time.”

    I tried to go back to their Facebook page to share a story from someone who posted there about how they mistreated him for 5 hours. Never charged him with anything, but without his knowledge, they unplugged his freezers in the basement that was full of game. Weeks later, he smelled it and discovered what they had done. He was more than a bit upset at the loss of all his meat.

    Unfortunately, I could not copy and paste his story because I have apparently been banned from their site now. Whenever I try to go to it, I am returned to my Facebook home page. I posted a couple comments there that I guess they did not like. This is not a good way for government to act, pretending to be open to the public through Facebook, but secretly banning those who might question what they have done. It kind of reminds me of Obama posting how they would make it easier for Whistleblowers to keep government honest, then removing that statement after getting into office.

  32. Bella: (objecting to) “The deer was taken off sight and euthanized”

    Perhaps they had intended to shoot it, and had in their sights.
    Then they changed their minds and decided to inject it.
    They therefore took it “off sight”.

    Moral: Never attribute to imprecision that which can be adequately explained by indecision.

  33. bron: Proponent of laissez-faire? Hardly, particularly when it comes to deer management. I am strongly in favor of culling in order to restore balance to the ecosystem. I thought that was obvious in my post or are you just being sarcastic?

    Michaelb: Do you even know what ad hominem means? Where in my post do find anything that remotely meets the definition.

    thumper: Amen, brother/sister

    Sling T: It certainly wasn’t god’s plan for an individual of an overabundant species to be sheltered and cornfed until maturity, then released back into the wild so it can innocently amble up to a hunter looking for a handout. And it’s definitely wasn’t god’s plan for deer populations to be as high as they’ve become since we’ve removed their natural predators. Worse case, it escapes predation, mates, and goes on to browse native vegetation, which is already under pressure. Odocoileus virginianus is not in any trouble and is, in fact, threatening to throw entire ecosystems out of whack.

    And Sling, you’re a great one for evidence-based statements: define “heavily armed”. JT’s rhetoric makes it sound as if DNR agents went in like a SWAT team. Was it that all the agents merely had a sidearm or were they all carrying Bushmasters? Could it be possible one agent simply had a high powered rifle, the type used to hunt, or they had flash bombs and armored vehicles? And, where’s the evidence to support these allegations? Statements by emotionally overwrought deer lovers to reporters and references to Facebook amount to hearsay.

    The DNR staff that I deal with are professional and courteous, particularly to members of the public; it’s not in their interest to alienate people. They are charged with safeguarding the natural resources of the state and it is a necessary, difficult job that’s often dangerous. Whenever they’re required to enforce the laws, like checking for permits or apprehending poachers, invariably people, like Nick’s friends, call them Nazi’s. They are underpaid public servants working for an under-funded department trying to protect natural resources. Restoring balance to the ecosystem is an important part of that mission.

    I worry sometimes that people who spend the majority of their time in offices, disconnected from nature, lose sight of what ecosystem health means to society. For someone like DavidM, there are quantifiable economic benefits that natural areas provide that are severely undervalued. I know how easy it is to feel sorry for little Bambi; it says you’re all people with good hearts. But it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. I would have a hard time putting a doe down myself, but witnessing the population of plant like the Eastern prairie fringed orchid plummet to a handful or two in Illinois, I know it’s the right thing to do.

  34. hey, give’em a break. they have some new toys, er, weapons they just got from homeland security they want to try out.

  35. RTC: “I wish more people would develop a greater appreciation and concern for native vegetation and get over the exaggerated charisma of animals like deer and rabbits.

    I think you are missing something here.
    Take anything I have posted and substitute “lightly armed” for “heavily armed” – The action taken is still just as ridiculous
    Remove all reference to arms. The action is still ridiculous.

    Nine DNR agents and four deputies. WTF? That’s the remarkable and ridiculous aspect.
    The nature of the arms they carried will no doubt be clarified in time by interested parties.

    I think that the negative comments about DNR in this have primarily to do with OTT agent numbers and alleged conduct rather than the fate of the animal.

    You seem concerned that the fawn in question might be about to eat the last remaining Eastern prairie fringed orchid plummet?
    The idea appears to have been to take it to an animal shelter – which one would hope would not be the location of said plant.

    If there was a concern that the fawn was a carrier of CWD, then should it not have been killed by DNR long before anyone could find it and take it to a shelter?

  36. MichaelB: I didn’t attack the care-givers. Pointing out that they may have taken a fawn that was not, in fact, abandoned is not an ad hominem response. (BTW, Thumper makes the same point much more eloquently and humorously, I thought.)

    Sling: We need to know the size of the facility before we can conclude whether the number of agents was excessive. A large facility, with many animals, might require that many agents, particularly if the DNR wanted a veterinary specialist or two to examine the health of the other animals on the site. The deputies were there to ensure compliance with the inspection and the safety of the DNR staff members; the DNR would not have received a friendly reception.

    I’m not sure I understand your last points. It’s unlikely the fawn was to be held at the shelter permanently, but I could be wrong. I just see anyone spending scarce resources on a deer. Symptoms of CWD don’t appear in juveniles, and I’ll go further and venture to say that the mother of this fawn didn’t die of CWD, either. The young age of the fawn would mean the mother would have succumbed fairly shortly after giving birth. CWD is a slowly progressive disease, making it unlikely the mother, had she been afflicted, would have successfully carried a fetus to term.

    Yes, indeed, I do worry about the extinction of EPFO, Plantanthera leucophaea. It’s a beautiful plant and the deer eat ’em like candy. The world would be very much poorer without it.

  37. Those St. Francis outlaws are a scary bunch of people. aren’t they?
    Copy and paste these coordinates into Google Earth or Google Maps search bar:

    42°30’35.24″ N 87°57’18.33″ W

    There is also street view directly in front of their driveway. Decide for yourself if this place looked as if it called for a full swat team raid. I did notice something interesting on their web page (link above). The very last paragraph. One more thing, I see on Google Earth there are several recently placed “reviews” about how awful the staff is. Curious timing, eh what? Here is the paragraph:

    We are sorry that we cannot adopt animals to anyone in the City of Milwaukee. While we will except applications for animals from people outside of the City of Milwaukee and in the County of Milwaukee, there are special requirements for any potential owners and there will be strict scrutiny of those adoptions. While we have placed many wonderful animals in loving homes with Milwaukee County residents, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control, the pound for Milwaukee County, has not notified our shelter of our microchipped stray animals who have had the misfortune of landing in that facility. Furthermore, the cases of extreme animal cruelty in Milwaukee County have gone unresolved and largely uninvestigated. Thus, the risk of the torture or death of even one of our adopted animals, who could stray from home, far out weighs the benefits of placing animals in loving homes in Milwaukee County.

    Anyone suspect the Society riled up someone in the city or country government with that?

  38. RTC, I DO hope ya’ll sleep at night ’cause y’all are a monster defending DNR in killing this critter.

  39. I have read and saw videos and pictures of how people in uniform abuse their power and that includes other government bodies. Concerned people resent such acts. Don’t we have a say in all these? The tax payers whose money are being used to fund the projects of the government and pay for the services of these men in uniform? Something should changed and done!

  40. @SlingTrebuchet: I appreciate your perceptive explanation of this incident’s traumatic effect on the emotionally sensitive DNR officers. Naturally, they did not want their deeply personal responses to this tragedy made public, thus necessitating the deletion of any ill-advised video recordings. I certainly hope they all get well-deserved paid time off to process their feelings.

    I admit that I was initially very upset after reading JT’s post, but I feel so much better now. Thank you!

  41. The worst part is these nitwit officers who couldn’t think for themselves. Never do they ask if what they are doing is right and justified. They just mindlessly do what they are told to do like a bunch of programmed robots. And that’s the most frightening part of this b/c they have power and are armed, yet they can’t think. One can imagine these same twits being told to kill children or some other innocent Americans b/c they may be some kind of potential threat – so we need to eliminate them. What would they do then – probably just mindlessly follow orders. Hope they’re proud of this – tell your kids what a hero you are and what you did today -Losers!

  42. OS,

    If anything, it sounds like the shelter was riled up against Big Gubmint; their post sounds a little over the top in a PETA sort of way to me. You do know there is significant anti-government sentiment in Wisconsin which Scot Walker has effectively tapped into, don’t you?

    First issue: the city’s animal control must take in upwards of hundreds of thousands of animals per year, many of them vicious. There just isn’t time to scan them all, besides, shouldn’t the onus be on the pet owner to check with the pound once the animal is missing?

    Then, what evidence is there that any of their microchipped animals even landed in the pound in the first place? And these instances of uninvestigated animal cruelty they complain of; what are those about? Is the shelter upset about dog-fighting in the county, which deserves a special place in hell, or people raising/selling rabbits, ducks, and chickens for food, which is common in rural areas. These guys sound like they have the potential to get hysterical about snake owners feeding mice to their snakes. The fact that a pet shelter in Wisconsin is taking in deer should raise a red flag.

    The part that really gets me is the bit about the risks their animals face being so great, they simply can’t bear to part with a single one. C’mon, gimme a break. This place might be a candidate for the show, “Hoarders”. If there is overcrowding at the shelter, the owners deserve a special place in hell, right next to dog-fighters.

    It would also require a team of investigators. As far as I know, the DNR is responsible for handling calls about wildlife, but they don’t have the power to carry out a search warrant on a residence. If your contention is correct, that the shelter operators raised enough hell to gain notice, and possibly a reputation, then investigators would have good reason to expect some resistance. One of the beefs I had with BushCo*, is that IF, and they didn’t, but if they had to go to war, then they should have gone in with much higher troop levels. Maybe that’s what investigators did in this case – quell resistance with superior numbers, the search wraps up on a timely basis, and everyone sleeps in their own bed that night.

    Your problem, as I see it, is that you’re too anxious to view anything the government does as sinister. Distrust of the government is an American tradition, but so is presumption of innocence, and that should extend to the government, as well. We can agree that the surveillance program is is a violation of our civil liberties, but not every FISA court wiretap is unfounded. Unfortunately, people view every permit requirement or traffic stop as a government intrusion. Sometimes, every once in a while, the government action is justifiable.

    This blog is normally a diversion for me, but this has been too much like real work for me and tweaks a nerve. As an ecologist, I often have to overcome public objections to deer management programs. I know first hand how it can cause emotions to run high. Part of my work involves trying to save the aforementioned orchid. It’s frustrating to witness a 300 acre site go from supporting a population of several hundred down to three because of deer browse. It’s not just about one particular plant, either. Deer have a devastating effect on riparian vegetation which holds back sedimentation and filter pollutants. Like clean water? Shoot more deer; that’s what I always say. And yes, Disgusted, I’d sleep just fine knowing there were fewer deer.

    * I like that phrase BushCo from an earlier posting. Barack Obama – Senior Vice-President.

  43. RTC,
    I don’t read that post from the St. Francis group as “anti government,” or “anti big government.” As I read it, they trust the animal control people in Milwaukee about as far as they can throw them, and probably with good reason. After all, as the old cliche goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    We have had any number of reports on this blog and in the news lately of officers shooting or stomping family pets. From the sound of it, Milwaukee area authorities are in that camp. Being against policies of killing or “disappearing” family pets is not political, but ethical.

    As far as PETA goes, there are extremists in every movement. I see some of PETA past antics as not being any more moral or ethical than anti-abortion extremists who are willing to kill to “preserve life.”

  44. It seams that the people in charge of Wisconsin’s DNR have lost the ability of rational thought…. As well as, the ability, to hear and/or listen to others who may have more information on a particular problem…. And finally, their ability to use common sense in conjunction with the spirit of the law in resolving conflict and possible problems and potential solutions. However, those that were complicit in the decisions that led to the raid, have been completely lucid in their efforts to conceal evidence of possible wrong doing , including denial of constitutional rights to those trying to document their actions. Therefore it is the judgement of this court of public opinion that these 13 individuals should have their employment terminated immediately……. And that any compensation due them be donated to wildlife no-kill shelters thru-out the state as compensation for their inhumane, unlawful and gestapo-like actions.

  45. Mark, one of the posts I made was the suggestion that they had too much time on their hands to do something like this, and that somebody needed to cut their Budget. On retrospect, I guess I can understand why they banned me from their site. I still don’t think it is right for a government agency to do that, but, from a human nature standpoint, it is understandable.

  46. Leave it to an ecologist to suggest humans are the solution. That is what they thought in Africa when they killed ( excuse me euthanized ) tens of thousands of Elephants to protect the soil that was being desertified, Turns out the elephants broke up the algae layer that was causing it. Result was the problem was many times worse. How did the world get by without humans. Kill the predators so you can raise sheep and be shocked that the prey animals increase. So the solution is to kill the prey animals? Hubris unbound. Human greed for cheap and easy is the problem…fix that. Back on topic, I am a bit surprised that the media are not following up on the waste of man hours on this. The government has be crying not enough money for schools but there is enough for aerial surveillance, reconnaissance and 13 officers to look for one 2 week old fawn at an animal shelter with no history of resistance. No one in the media is discussing what happened to the cell phone videos and pictures. If they are in a CWD quarantined area, they should say so.

  47. This is analogous to the necessity for the transformation from the Mosaic Law to the messianic way of life. The first was rigid, allowing no flexibility, at least in the way by which men followed it. Inflexibility made it impossible to declare men righteous “for all time.” Conversely, the teachings of Jesus Christ allow room for compassion and understanding, ergo exceptions to the rule; not that the exceptions are necessary if one basis his faith in Jesus as the living WORD of God who explained the whole law is summed up in these two commandments: “Love the lord thy god with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    The DNR laws made them nothing more than irrational madmen, incapable of reasoning, and that my friends is pathological. And from this I comprehend the pathology behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is unnatural for any animal to own land. It is a wild beastly instinct to even be territorial in nature. Rather than become domesticated and spiritual, law produces brute beasts.

  48. If we weren’t pushing wildlife out of their homes to build “little boxes on the hillside” then the animals wouldn’t be “overpopulated!” Are you so worried about plant extinction?? Really? So- your lush lawn of carpet grass didn’t upset the equilibrium of the environment? Yeah, blame it on the deer. “Overpopulation of deer are eating all of the plants i like!” Does it cross your mind that every parking lot ‘wipes out’ some plant life. (Yes, I am aware the topic is the overkill the ‘swat’ team displayed. Yet some defend the killings due to overpopulation.)
    Overpopulation. Sure. I get it. So next time you’re golfing, shopping or simply admiring your lawn- don’t forget who is REALLY responsible for extinction and eradication. Where does it end? When we push animals out of their homes, assign a much smaller area to them AND THEN SAY THERE ARE TOO MANY FOR SUCH A SMALL AREA. Yep, better kill them.

    I don’t understand the ridiculous, blind, shortsighted selfishness of the human animal.

  49. OS,

    This blog also features many stories about the misdeeds of lawyers and judges, and yet, I wouldn’t characterize all members of the legal profession as unscrupulous or unethical on the basis the misdeeds of those individuals any more than I would assume all gun-toting Republicans are sociopaths, although my argument may weaken somewhat with that example. The point is, when an individual commits a misdeed, we need to hold that individual accountable and not ascribe their behavior to entire groups as a whole. I’m sure you’ll agree that that type of prejudice is contrary to the ideals we should aspire to, and I’m a little surprised that, on a law blog, I should be the one, as a layman, to point that out.

    To me, the post from the St. Francis group doesn’t sound right. A decent screening process should be able to identify suitable pet owners. I’ve adopted several rescue animals over the years, and I know several dozen friends and acquaintances who have done the same. In virtually every case, the adopting organizations took steps to ensure the suitability of prospective adoptive owners. Owners who allow pets to run off would normally have a difficult time of being approved. For any shelter, like St. Francis, to operate with a no-placement policy, however, is unrealistic; for any shelter to operate with such a policy because of the possible mistreatment of even a single animal borders on delusional. You should take their account of the encounter with a heavy dose of salt.

    DNR agents, as a whole, don’t go into the profession for the opportunity to destroy animals. Managing wildlife calls for difficult, sometimes unpleasant policy decisions. But nature isn’t always about butterflies and rainbows. Those agents weren’t doing anything sinister, merely what was best for the environment.

  50. MichaelB,

    Not sure I understand the source of your anger, but I’ll comment on one component of your rant, since it’s one that commonly comes up on occasion.

    Yes, there are times when humans are the solution, particularly when the problem was caused by humans in the first place. I can’t speak to the situation in Africa, because I’m not familiar with it, but here in the Midwest, deer management, in the absence of natural predators, is the viable solution. Deer populations have exceeded historical levels. To do nothing would mean devastation for the ecosystem, not just for plants, but for all the other species that depend on them. We’re talking about mass die-offs for many animals due to starvation, including your adorable Bambi.

    I’d prefer to continue wolf reintroductions. The thinking is that CWD is a result of removing top predators from the ecosystem; wolves would remove the sick and weakened animals faster than the disease could spread. Absent wolf reintroduction, culling is the most humane and responsible course of action.

  51. RTC, I don’t have any problem agreeing with this observation: “DNR agents, as a whole, don’t go into the profession for the opportunity to destroy animals.”

    Also, most police officers do not go into the profession of law enforcement to act like the thugs who make headlines. Having said that, on this day, at this time, and at this place, their behavior was over the top. There is no excuse for rounding up the volunteer staff, holding them at bay, and seizing cell phone cameras to delete photos of the raid.

    The St. Francis Society runs shelters all over the country. However, they have a no-kill policy. Obviously, there are some animals who must be put down out of mercy. This raid was both lawless, in that the search far exceeded the warrant, and they did not permit photos to be taken during the raid. They did not examine the animal or inquire as to what the shelter planned for it. This raid smacks of retaliation, probably for political reasons. The reasons they give for refusing to allow animals to be adopted in Milwaukee no doubt irritated some powerful people. I notice that DavidM reports upthread that after he left a comment critical of the raid on the agency Facebook page, he was banned. However, I see that ratings on places such as Google Earth suddenly attract a number of one star ratings about how awful and rude the people are at the shelter.

    This is Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. They do not brook dissent of any kind. Even by elderly people singing at the capitol building. Just this past week, there were selective mass arrests in the state capitol. Walker’s police even arrested visitors and bystanders in the building who were doing nothing but sightseeing. I am curious as to where the Constitution went?

  52. Wisconsin laws regarding wildlife need many changes! Last year, most of the wolves (recently removed from endangered species protection) killed in Wisconsin were pups! http://wiwildlifeethic.org/2013/08/01/wisconsin-dnr-brags-that-majority-of-wolves-killed-last-year-were-pups-and-then-launches-heavily-armed-raid-to-kill-a-fawn-seriously/ Hunting wolves with dogs is state-sanctioned dog fighting, only more cruel. The victims are (mostly) juvenile wolves and the domestic dogs hunting them. Visit http://www.friendsofthewisconsinwolf.org/ to learn more or donate to help to stop the wolf hunt. Images and information are also on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTheWisconsinWolf

  53. Hey, I wonder what happened to the Constitution sometimes, myself, OS, it’s just that I’m not seeing the lunatic hand of Scott Walker in any of this. The DNR is completely separate from the county – it could care less about what goes on at the pound, as long as it doesn’t involve wildlife, and frankly, such is the bureaucrat’s life that if someone’s complaining about another agency, then they aren’t focused on yours. No sense getting caught in the crossfire.

    Deer hunting is integral to Wisconsin’s culture and a big part of its economy; the threat posed by CWD would prompt the kind of response from wildlife managers meant to protect the state’s deer herds, irrespective of who sits in the governor’s office – this was strictly about managing wildlife. Even if you’re correct about this shelter attracting the ire of some government agency or official, there are better, more effective ways to go about retaliating.

    You imagine burly, snarling jack-booted thugs wielding Bushmasters shoving volunteers into corners based on press accounts, while I tend to believe that most of the DNR agents were slight, career professionals wearing pocket protectors, requiring the county sheriffs to usher them in so they may do an unpleasant task. Why were there so many agents on the scene? I don’t know…it’s not every day a search is made on an animal shelter, maybe the novelty attracted a crowd, maybe a couple were on hand for training. Prohibiting photos probably had nothing to do with covering up aggressive, abusive behavior and everything to do with preventing the disastrous PR that would result from images of poor Bambi being taken away to slaughter. People become attached to deer like the piano player on the Titanic who couldn’t let go of his piano. So, although I’m prepared to believe the worst about Scott walker and his ilk, having seen first hand how emotionally charged people can become over deer, I’m skeptical about the press accounts.

    As for DavidM being banned from the Facebook page, gee, I can’t imagine anyone banning him. Personally, I think it’s a mistake and I would encourage him to keep trying friend-up, or whatever it’s called – perhaps make a few calls. Who knows, maybe his buddy Scott will fix it for him.

  54. RTC – Really? Don’t you think a DNR agent could have called up St. Francis and said something like the following:

    DNR: “We understand you have a deer. You realize the law does not allow you to keep that deer, nor are you allowed to transport the deer across State lines.”

    St. Francis: “Uh-huh.”

    DNR continues: “Okay, so we will send an agent out this afternoon to pick up the deer, ok?”

    St. Francis: “Yeah, okay. Thank you. See you this afternoon.”

    DNR sends out one unarmed agent and picks up the deer.

    What am I missing here? Do you have some information that this was not the response St. Francis would have had?

  55. Guest,
    The WordPress filter catches posts with more than two links in them, as well as certain naughty words. Your comment has three links and was sent to moderation. I read it and it looked OK, so cleared it with the third link included. Everyone, please keep links to no more than two in a single comment. I just happened to notice Guest’s comment by accident and was able to clear it.

  56. RTC,
    We don’t know what the agents looked like because they confiscated all pictures. Perhaps more information will emerge in news stories or interviews. As for wildlife, I am pretty familiar with that here in the mountains. Bears and raccoons in the garbage, whitetail deer in the parking lot of my office yesterday, dodging skunks and possums in the road, and foxes in the driveway at the house. When my daughter was young, we taught her to look around outside before going out the door to make sure there are no predators bigger than her in the back yard. We are encroaching on their habitat.

    Google Earth has a history function in their views of most locations. It is interesting to use that toolbar and work backward. You can see the disappearing woodland and forests. Every time we spot a new building site going up on a mountainside, we know more pressure is being put on the ecosystem. When she was just a toddler, my daughter would spot a new clearing and say, “They are digging up my mountains again.” And don’t even get me started on mountaintop removal. My blood pressure is high enough as it is.

  57. I am a chicken. I have lived most of my life in hiding, while millions of my kind are murdered and eaten daily. While I am (of course) disturbed by Giggles’ murder, I am also deeply hurt by the fact that no one cares about us Chickens. Maybe if we were the embodiment of “cute” and “innocent” people would care. I defy anyone to tell me why our lives are given zero value, but everyone freaks out over the death of a baby deer, but not us. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

  58. Hard to imagine how a fawn being transported to a sanctuary in another state would affect Wisconsin. Now a state that is being held hostage to the whims of people that like to kill things is something to think about. Who in their right mind would eat venison suspected to be from CWD deer? Deleted photos to protect their PR is small time compared the civil rights violations that will rain down on their head.
    Hard to believe an ecologist does not know about one of the biggest blunders in history http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

  59. The DNR show of force was in response to an erroneous anonymous complaint that the Society of St. Francis no-kill shelter was planning to permanently house a baby deer on the property. The baby deer, shelter workers named Giggles, was found over the Wisconsin border in Illinois and brought to the St. Francis shelter by a man who had found the baby deer four days earlier and kept the deer in his home. “There was no way of getting the baby back to her mother because the person, who found the deer, had kept her too long” said Schultz. “Because Giggles
    was an Illinois deer, we made contact with an authorized Illinois deer rescue and made arrangements to take Giggles to that rescue” Schultz said. “We had planned on taking Giggles to her new home after our Walk for the Animals on Sunday.”


  60. DNR is now claiming they made a phone call that was ignored. The DNR underestimates the power of the public to verify such statements. Surprised they did not bring a tank. You know well armed and nasty those volunteers can be.

  61. “DNR is now claiming they made a phone call that was ignored. ”

    Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer told WISN 12 that …….

    The station asked if the raid could have been done in a less costly manner by making a phone call first.

    “If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they always call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” the supervisor responded.
    “If the criminals ignore the phone call, then a SWAT team goes in.”

  62. DougieB:

    I love chicken(s), fried, baked, bbq’d, they are excellent. Although I will admit having your head chopped off, your feathers removed in scalding water and hanged by your feet probably inst the most pleasant death.

    And the final insult is that your bones go into a land fill and your flesh to the waste water treatment plant all in the name of gastronomy.

    Keep on pecking.

  63. RTC:

    I think you are correct in your observation of out of control deer herds in populated areas. We have a huge deer population where I live, also a huge Canada Goose population.

    The solution would seem to be to allow more hunting and trapping and give the meat to homeless shelters.

    But I think a simple phone call would have been sufficient. If they did not comply a single DNR officer could have taken the deer.

  64. Anyone want to make any bets on whether this facility and other St. Francis facilities start installing security video cameras? More and more people are installing dashcams in their vehicles as well. The way things are going all over the country, video cameras seem to be a wise investment.

  65. @SlingTrebuchet: Haha! I noticed that DNR Spokesweasel Jennifer Niemeyer spoke out of (at least) two sides of her mouth too! Maybe she doesn’t realize she’s being videotaped?

  66. @RTC: *”Prohibiting photos probably had nothing to do with covering up aggressive, abusive behavior and everything to do with preventing the disastrous PR”*

    Perhaps, but preventing disastrous PR doesn’t (or shouldn’t) trump the first amendment. If you know, please tell us what law authorized these officers to prohibit photo and/or video recording – or indeed to confiscate cellphones from anyone not under arrest.

  67. Shame on the Wisconsin DNR I am ashamed for them..our Governor should look.into this behavior..shooting the fawn is inhumane….I am.so disgusted….

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