Federal Agents Stop At Nothing — to Kill a Baby Deer

Remember that time you cried while watching Bambi?

This is worse.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, nine Department of National Resources (DNR) agents and four deputy sheriffs all raided a no-kill animal shelter as part of their search for an at-large, dangerous threat: a baby deer.

A family delivered the little fawn to the Society of St. Francis Animal Shelter two weeks before the raid, fearing that it had been abandoned by its mother. The baby deer was later named “Giggles” because, according to shelter employee Ray Schulze, “When it made a little noise, it sounded like it was laughing.” 

The DNR began investigating after receiving two anonymous phone calls informing them of the location of the deer. On that fateful day, they came armed with a search warrant (among other things) including aerial photographs of the fawn going in and out of the barn. Agents told staff members that the deer was being seized according to Wisconsin state law, which forbids the possession of wildlife.

But according to Schulze, the deer was scheduled to go to a wildlife reserve in Illinois the very next day, one that allowed for the rehabilitation of deer. When agents began searching for the fawn, Schulze said, “I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter, and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag.”

In this latest edition of “Is this really the best use of government resources?” many are asking for the justification for such heavy-handedness towards an innocent baby deer. According to DNR supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer in a phone conversation with ABC-WISN news reporter Colleen Henry, the law requires Department of Natural Resources agents to euthanize animals like Giggles because of the potential for disease and danger to humans.

“Could you have made a phone call before showing up? I mean that’s a lot of resources,” asked Henry.

Niemeyer responded, “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 drugs that they have before they show up.”

Right … that’s the analogy we want to draw. Who knew that seizing an innocent baby deer is just like busting a drug operation?

I understand the motivation behind such a policy, but euthanizing an animal that has already been tranquilized, in the absence of any dangerous behavior and without screening for potentially harmful disease, sets an outrageous precedent. It’s important to ensure human safety, yes, but we do share this planet with countless wildlife, and indiscriminately executing them for merely existing in our presence is perhaps more animalistic than the creatures we claim to be defending ourselves against — especially when those creatures are baby deer.

To get a full sense of this tragic story, watch the video here:

As Ray Schulze said, “When I saw Giggles being carried…yeah, I did cry.”

So did we, Ray. So did we.