It may sound like a scene from a horror movie, but according to reports coming out of southern Florida, two men were arrested after police pulled over their vehicle for a broken taillight and made a shocking discovery: Three live, endangered Key deer had been tied up with twine and stuffed into the back seat and trunk of the car. Amazingly, authorities suspect that one of the deer—who was bound and placed in the vehicle’s trunk—may have managed to kick out the taillight that ended up catching the officers’ attention, ultimately leading to the rescue of all three animals.
The suspects’ supposed reasoning behind this incident is almost as unsettling as the act itself: One of the two men told investigators that he’d tied up and taken the deer because he wanted to take pictures with the animals.
The deer allegedly sustained injuries that left blood in various parts of the suspects’ car. Officers with local and federal wildlife agencies released the deer immediately back into the wild and will continue to monitor one of the deer whose injuries were more intense. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the two men were arrested and charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor crimes, including cruelty to animals and injuring an endangered species. The suspects face up to five years behind bars and fines of up to $5,000.
An Alarming Trend of Violent Ignorance: Selfies With Animals
While the alleged actions of these two men may seem hard to believe, this story is just another example of a larger trend of similar incidents. Others have also gone to inexplicable and shocking lengths to take a picture or video with a wild animal, totally ignoring the animals’ obvious distress and/or pain. Just last week, a viral Instagram video showing a young man attacking a juvenile shark and throwing the terrified animal onto a dock full of screaming people with smart phones in hand quickly spread around the world, prompting widespread outrage.
While the men reportedly involved in this deer incident were thankfully caught and now face charges for their alleged actions, an increasing number of people are placing wild animals in danger (or directly harming them or killing them outright) in order to garner “likes” on their social media sites.
We need your help to spread the message: Animals aren’t selfie props. If there’s any risk that your photo is going to hurt or cause stress to an animal, it’s not worth it. Share this post with your friends, family members, and social media followers. Let them know that animals’ lives are worth so much more than online “likes.”