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Teens In Deer Cruelty Case

Jenn Smith

Posted on December 04 2019

“The brutality documented in this video appears to be a violation of the Animal Abuse Statute which passed in 2017 and provided felony level penalties for intentional and knowing acts of violence against animals,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society.

She noted that the revisions in Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws (Act 10 of 2017), raised aggravated cruelty to animals to the level of a felony, which carries penalties of up to 7 years and/or up to a $15,000 fine.

Tullo declined to speculate whether teens shown abusing the deer in a video being shared on social media would face felony charges. “Until the Pennsylvania Game Commission is wrapped up with its investigation I would prefer not to comment on a hypothetical,” she said.

While the Humane Society is not involved in the investigation, she said, “we stand ready to support the Game Commission in any way we can.”

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is investigating a video of two teens abusing a wounded deer in Jefferson County that went viral after being posted to Facebook.

In the video, two teens now identified by the commission as an adult teen over age 18 and a juvenile teen – reportedly from Brookville, appear to kick the white-tailed buck in the face, step on its legs and rip at its antlers, all while it was still alive but unable to escape because of its injury after being shot.

The commission has not yet filed charges and the investigation is continuing with “several meetings scheduled and yet to go,” according to Chip Brunst, information and education supervisor for the commission’s Northwest Region.

He said those charges could include unlawful taking or possession of game, failure to wear the required amount of fluorescent orange while hunting, and use of unlawful devices and methods under Pennsylvania’s Game and Wildlife Code, as well as violations under the state’s cruelty laws.

The commission announced its investigation into the incident on its social media channels on Sunday, noting, “The conduct portrayed in the video is reprehensible and potentially a violation of the law.”

In announcing its investigation, the commission also urged, “If you have any information related to the video, we ask that you report it to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888–PGC-8001 or the Game Commission’s Northwest Region Dispatch Office at 814-432-3187.”

The video went viral on Saturday and Sunday, sparking outrage and disgust, first among hunting-related groups on the Internet and then the larger digital world.

At least one online petition was launched seeking felony charges against the men.

Saturday was the first day of the firearms hunting season for deer across Pennsylvania.

Story re-posted from Penn Live. Written by Marcus Schneck