following is a wonderful story printed in the www.countrycritterjournal.com.
It shows much about the
Division of Wildlife.
honesty always the best policy?
By Jan Kellogg
August of 2002, a relative was informed of two fawns at a home in
, where they had been walking around lost for several days without food. This
person contacted a “raise and release” program in
, regarding the care of the fawns. They were told there was not enough room for
them. When they went back to check on the fawns, one was gone. The other was
still there wandering and in danger of being hit by a car or worse. Without any
other option they brought this fawn, which I affectionately called Sparky, to
me. I took this fawn into my care thinking I was doing the right thing by
helping this poor defenseless animal. I did everything in my power to help
Sparky survive. I bottle-fed him and had a veterinarian come out and examine him
for TB and any other problems. He was given TB shots, Boise Vita E shots and a
clean bill of health. I continued to raise him, all the time believing that he
was licensed through the state. He was not. During the past year and a half I
have taken care of Sparky like he was my child. We had a special area built just
for him with his safety in mind. He was able to go in and out of my barn to
escape inclimate weather and became a happy, healthy addition to my family.
during the 2003 gun season Mr. Scott R. Denamen, a Geauga County Wildlife
Officer, stopped at my home to inquire about the deer. I told him that Sparky
was registered through the state. He then informed me “well, he is not
registered through me”. He further informed me that I should contact Angie at
the Wildlife Office and she would forward a permit package to me. I contacted
Angie as instructed and gave her all of my information. Four days later I
received through the mail a permit package. While looking through the package I
noticed that they were asking for the previous permit holder information. It was
at this time, I realized he did not have a previous permit holder. I did what I
thought was the right thing to do and that was to contact Mr. Scott R. Denamen,
Geauga County Wildlife Officer. I informed Mr. Denamen that “This is the
hardest phone call I have ever had to make”. I didn’t want anyone to take my
deer. I explained to him how I had acquired Sparky and that he had all of his
shots and had been cared for as I would care for my own child. I also informed
Mr. Denamen that the “raise and release” program in
turned him down. I inquired as to how I could reconcile this situation without
losing my deer or causing him any physical harm. Then then told me that my
honesty had to be worth something and that he would see what he could do to help
me. He then told me that he would contact me at a later date to discuss this
further. I waited through the Christmas holiday and couldn’t wait any longer.
I contacted Mr. Denamen prior to the New Year for a conclusion to this issue.It
is at this, I should tell you that I am an avid hunter myself and understand the
characteristics of a deer and the different seasonal mood swings of a deer. In
saying this, I knew what I was involved in with raising and keeping a deer.
I contacted Scott, he informed me that he wold have to contact me after
muzzleloader season and the New Year had passed. He assured me that everything
was going to be ok and that I shouldn’t worry about any of this, that he was
going to try to help me. “Calm down” he said. I waited approximately two and
a half weeks and received a call from Scott. During this conversation Scott
again told me not to worry and that everything was going to be fine and that he
had a plan to take care of everything. He then asked me if I would like to be a
part of the “raise and release” program. I asked if that would include
Sparky and he told me that I didn't need to worry about Sparky. He informed me
that he would come to my house on Friday before noon. He arrived at my home
before noon; I invited him into my home. While in my home I showed him the shot
records for Sparky. Scott didn’t even look at the records; he never unfolded
the paper. It was then that Scott informed me me and his supervisor needed to
see the deer. I said “fine, let me get some bread so that he will come right
over to the fence where you can see him.” When we reached the fence Sparky
came to the fence just as I knew he would. I fed him the bread and was petting
him. I asked Scott if he wanted to feed him. His response was “I don’t want
to feed this deer any bread”. He then turned to his supervisor and said
“look at this deer, he is licking my hand, this is going to be rough.” Scott
then looked at me as I was feeding Sparky; I asked Scott “what’s wrong?” I
knew something was wrong. Scott informed me that they were taking my deer, that
I couldn’t keep him. I asked “house can you do this to me, I was honest with
you, how are you going to do this?” Scott said they were going to give him an
overdose of a tranquilizer. I went numb and almost fell. I pleaded with them to
not take him that it was wrong to do this to an innocent animal that had not
hurt anyone. Scott and I walked toward my house while his supervisor went to the
vehicle to get his equipment. While walking to the house my legs gave out and I
collapsed. I asked Scott if I could go call my husband and he said, “I would
prefer that you didn’t”. The other Officer proceed to get this equipment
from the truck. I asked again if I could call my husband and he agreed, but
asked me to wait where I was for two minutes while he spoke with his Supervisor.
After they spoke Scott agreed that I could call my husband and inform him of
everything that was happening. After I made the call I told Scott that I wanted
to go with them because I didn’t want Sparky to go through this alone. We all
proceeded to the barn. Sparky was out by the fence waiting for me. They asked me
to put Sparky in the barn in a locked stall so that he couldn’t go back out to
the pasture. As I was closing the door to his pen he was nuzzling up to me. You
should understand that this deer was in second rut at this time and all he
wanted was to nuzzle up to me, his natural born enemy. I felt like he knew what
was happening. While I was petting him they asked me to leave Sparky so they
could proceed. Scott escorted me out of the my own barn.
feel that you should also be aware that I have an eleven-year-old son. When I
walked out of the barn I could hear him in the house screaming and crying.
heard the dart gun go off and Sparky hit the barn wall. Knowing that Sparky was
hurt, I couldn’t hold myself back and I went into the barn. When I reached the
pen, they were shooting him again with the tranquilzer gun. The Supervisor
called Scott into the pen and I head them talking. Scott then told me that I
couldn’t keep Sparky and bury him myself as I was previously told I could.
They said he had too many drugs in him and that he would have to be taken to the
landfill. The Supervisor came out looking at me with eyes of stone. I told him
“why don’t you tell me what is going on, you seem to be over Scott’s
head.” That is when he informed me that he was the Supervisor. He informed me
that they had to take him because they couldn’t risk that I wouldn’t bury
him deep enough and another animal coming in contact with Sparky might be
poisoned by the amount of drugs they used. I asked what next. They told me that
he would be unconscious for six hours and during that time they would destroy
him. I wanted to know the method they were going to use. I was informed that
they were going to shoot him and take him to a landfill. The Supervisor then
collected his equipment; Scott went in to retrieve Sparky. As he was dragging
him out of the barn by his horns, he asked me if I would like to keep his horns.
I declined for obvious reasons. Scott continued to drag him out of the barn and
across the front yard. The whole time I could hear my son crying. I looked
toward the house and saw him watching all of this through his bedroom window. It
was at this moment that I realized it wasn’t just my heart that was breaking.
put Sparky in the back of their truck in a crate and drove away.
would like to add, is honesty always the best policy? This story sounds more
like a “caged hunt” than a Wildlife Officer protecting our environment. Just
a thought. What was the sense in this, who’s the winner here?