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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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.”

  9. Yeh, that’s right Henry, the DNR’s going to go kill some kids next week. Thanks for proving my point,. moron

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. @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!

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

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