Hunters Who Tortured Deer Criminally Charged, Thanks to Public Outcry

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Following demands by PETA and numerous other activists and an intense public outcry, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, court records show that charges have been filed against two individuals in connection with the disturbing video of two hunters torturing an injured deer.

Records indicate that one of the hunters, who is 18, has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two felony counts of conspiracy as well as additional counts of cruelty to animals, tampering with evidence, and corruption of minors and several state game law violations. Each felony charge carries a possibility of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

As the other hunter shown in the video is believed to be a minor, court records on charges against him won’t be made public. But the Pennsylvania Game Commission reportedly confirmed that he’s also facing charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and conspiracy.

Hundreds of thousands of people called for the hunters to face criminal charges, and PETA will continue to seek justice at every turn for abused animals.

Originally published December 3, 2019. 

A disturbing video posted to social media, filmed in Brookville, Pennsylvania, shows two hunters torturing an injured deer they shot. The men laugh while they yank the suffering animal by his antlers, stomp on him with their boots, and kick him in the head and face. The deer looks to be lying in a pool of blood.

PETA is calling on the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office to file felony cruelty-to-animals charges against the individuals responsible. And TeachKind—our humane education division—has contacted the superintendent of the Brookville Area School District, Dr. Erich May, to offer free humane education materials and to urge him to implement lessons in compassion immediately.

Right on cue, camo-clads are trying to put as much distance between themselves and these two hunters as possible. But all hunters know that their bloody “sport” causes animals to suffer, often for long periods of time.

An op-ed in Western Bowhunter titled “Responsible Hunting Starts With You!” detailed what “responsible hunting” apparently means:

“Don’t talk to anyone about wounding animals, especially in public places or among non-hunters. … If you videotape your hunts, don’t show bloody kill scenes, rough handling of animals and animals struggling, kicking or quivering as they go down, to non-hunters or anti-hunters.”

A study by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department found that for every deer killed outright by a bowhunter, at least one more escapes to suffer and die slowly.

Twenty percent of foxes hit by hunters have to be shot again, and another 10% manage to escape—but “starvation is a likely fate” for them, a veterinarian concluded. And a biologist with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks estimates that more than 3 million wounded ducks go “unretrieved” every year. Their orphaned young frequently starve to death. For animals who mate for life, such as wolves and geese, hunting devastates entire communities.huntingswan shot by arrow in Desert Shores community of Las Vegas

And hunting hurts humans, too—even those who aren’t gunning down wildlife for fun. When hunters turn animals’ homes into war zones, panicked deer run—often right onto roadways. Pennsylvania-based Erie Insurance analyzed deer/vehicle collision data and found that the opening day and opening Saturday of deer hunting season are “[t]wo of the most dangerous days to drive.” According to the Missouri Insurance Information Service, increased deer activity associated with hunting is a “major factor” in the rise in deer/vehicle collisions in the last three months of the year.

This latest infuriating video surfaced just after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed the “Sunday hunting bill” into law, opening up three Sundays in the state to allow hunters to kill more deer. Animal advocates fought it. Not surprisingly, about 20 hunting groups lobbied hard for its passage.

We can’t help this tormented deer now. But we can prevent others from suffering. If you live a rural area, post “No Trespassing” and “No Hunting” signs on your property. And follow the link below to speak up for deer and other animals where they need it most.

Take Action for Deer

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind