April 11, 2012
MN Officer Cleared of Wrongdoing in Shooting of “Pet” Deer
By Scott Bestul
Every year, state wildlife officials warn the public to not mess with wild baby animals. And every year, couples like Jeff and Lee Ann Carpenter ignore those warnings. Last summer the Carpenters, of Forest Lake, Minnesota, “adopted” a pair of whitetail fawns they thought were abandoned. They fed them and, naturally, enjoyed watching them. Eventually the Carpenters attached collars to the two deer—which they’d named Pinky and Abby—so they could tell them apart, according to this story (and video) that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
That’s when DNR wildlife officials got involved. Believing the deer were escapees from a captive deer facility, they ordered that the whitetails be killed. So on the morning of January 14, a police officer from Forest Lake shot the deer. And the Carpenters filed a complaint against the officer, accusing him of “dangerous cowboy antics.” After an investigation the officer (whom the department is not required to name) was cleared of any wrongdoings cited by the Carpenters.
If you watch, as I did, the video accompanying this report, you’ll probably get the sense that there’s more to this saga than we’re hearing. And to be honest, while I totally support the officer and the DNR, I can empathize with the Carpenters. If you live in an area where deer and other wildlife roam, it’s perfectly natural to feel some kinship with those creatures. Heck, the folks who owned a farm I used to hunt once had a stray fawn show up on their doorstep. They bottle-fed the deer and watched it grow into an adult, an animal that would leave the woods and come to their yard if it heard them talking or playing.
What is the difference between that story and that of the Carpenters? My friends were never confused about whether their deer was still a wild animal.
Photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune