On the night of September 29, California veterinarian Kathleen Johnson and her husband were walking their dogs when they came upon a deer whose rear leg was impaled on a wrought iron fence. He was hanging upside down, screaming and thrashing. Dr. Johnson called 911, assessed the deer and waited on Orange Co ACOs to arrive. When they did, she introduced herself as a vet and explained that the deer could be saved. The ACOs said the deer should be killed. Although the vet disagreed, she asked if they had euthanasia drugs with them. They told her no and she offered to get some from her home which was nearby. They refused.
The ACOs hogtied the injured deer, who was still hanging upside down and thrashing, and pulled out a knife to cut off his leg:
“I told them it was inhumane to cut off the buck’s leg while he was still alive without any anesthesia,” Johnson said. “The officer told me, ‘What does it matter, he’s going to be euthanized anyway?’”
Dr. Johnson offered to have her husband cut the fence but the ACOs told her to leave, threatening to let the deer to suffer in pain and do nothing at all so long as she was there. After she left the ACOs slit the deer’s throat and watched him to bleed to death.
Dr. Johnson filed an animal cruelty complaint with Orange Co Animal Care:
Scott Weldy, a Lake Forest veterinarian who for years has helped Fish and Wildlife officers as well as animal control officers deal with wildlife, was called to do a report on the buck’s death.
When Weldy and fellow veterinarian Kristian Krause went to perform the necropsy, they were horrified. The buck’s front legs were tied together and one hind leg was attached to his neck.
Dr. Weldy characterized the suffering endured by the deer after his throat was slit as “inhumane and unbearable.” The two ACOs have been on paid leave since October 1. The Orange Co DA is investigating but the results of the investigation sound like a foregone conclusion:
“Whether you agree with what they did or not, it’s not a crime,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff at the District Attorney’s Office.
If that’s the case I imagine Ms. Schroeder will have no problem pointing out the applicable statute which states that ACOs can hack up animals with knives as they see fit.
Mercifully, it sounds like there is at least one person willing to do his job in Orange Co:
County Supervisor Todd Spitzer has been investigating this on his own since being notified by Johnson.
“County training does not authorize the slitting of an animal’s throat so it can bleed out slowly,” Spitzer said. “It’s inhumane and unconscionable with folks we want in the county dealing with animals.”
Yeah, that would be like the minimum requirement for an ACO I would think: the not cutting animals thing.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)