Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Update on the Deer Incident

Update: For those who were wondering, we did not discharge a firearm. We used a knife that was lent to us by a hunter who was too afraid of losing his license to use other methods he had available. The deer had relief from the excruciating pain in 2-3 minutes. The last call we made to 911, we waited 35 minutes before we received a call from dispatch saying it would be another 15-25 minutes. (A group of children was throwing cherry bombs under passing cars creating a public safety issue which also damaged our Suburban's electrical system.) We did not want the deer to wait so long for relief and with our other experiences with wildlife, we never even questioned if it was the right thing to do. The state wildlife agencies and other deputy did not have a problem with us at acting. It was solely the one officer. I do not have a negative view of law enforcement because of this. It was one person who threatened us and intimidated us. It's a shame they used their badge to do it, but it doesn't make them all bad. I have two stories of officers who missed the mark but can share quite a few about other officers that were a blessing to us.

Thank you to those who have been praying and to those who have checked on us. We have not been contacted by the overseeing authorities nor have we been charged with anything. We think the officer who mocked me for being a stay at home mom, yelled, threatened, and cursed once at us was either having a very bad night, did not know the law, or was offended we did "her job." She accused us of "hunting out of season without a license." She threatened us with jail time and big fines. She was not aware it was bow season. From what Clint and I can tell, the officer was having a bad day, and we drew the "vent card." If that makes her a better mom or wife later, then we can take it. The male officer was very calm, even mannered, and understanding and seemed to have no problem with it. She did not allow him to speak much.

In reading the law, there appears to be no law that covers humane euthanization of wildlife by civilians at an accident scene in our state. There are hunting laws, but nothing for this specific situation. 

We shared the story with our friend who is a wildlife official. She thanked us for ending the suffering and said she would assist us in court if we need her. Another friend of ours, who is also a hunter, was just in a collision with a deer this past weekend and put the deer down himself at the scene. The officer thanked him. There is such a big discrepancy in how we were treated and his experience. 

We have about 50 friends who have volunteered to write letters on our character and gentleness with animals, if needed. I don't think we need it. If it had been as big of a crime as she made it out to be, I think we'd have had contact from the other agency by now. I think the people who work with wildlife understand suffering and don't want to see it go on because someone is afraid to act to end it. 

I was told our state does not have a law saying it is OK to euthanize an animal after a collision with a car because the state makes the argument that people will "hunt by hitting deer." Realistically, what percentage of people would do this? and how many deer would be in the road? and does this justify making so many deer suffer? Even a few minutes of agony seems like a lifetime to the one going through it. Like other states do, it is the kindness we can show to the fatally injured deer we need to consider in these situations.

Most of my experiences with law enforcement have been good. We felt this situation was blown way out of proportion and that we were treated unfairly, but I think that has more to do with the person than the uniform. The uniform makes it easier to intimidate, but an unhappy person is an unhappy person no matter where they work. 

The easy thing would have been to left the deer in its suffering and done nothing. Ending the deer's life was hard on our minds and our hearts. We were covered in blood and had to comfort and gentle the animal as it departed from life. As Christians, we believe God has given mankind "dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Gen. 1:26  I believe part of that includes granting mercy when and where we can to suffering animals.