Zero Dark Thirty: Baby Deer Edition

Nine agents from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and four sheriff’s deputies descended upon a no kill shelter on the Wisconsin-Illinois border last month in response to a report that a baby deer was being cared for there.  Authorities had obtained aerial photographs of the orphaned fawn at the shelter and had staked out the place in order to confirm the animal’s presence.

Yes aerial photos.  Yes stake out.

When they raided the shelter, which apparently lacks the state permit required to house deer, an employee described the heavily armed group as looking “like a S.W.A.T. team”.  The agents “corralled workers near the picnic area and then set out in search of the fawn.”

Authorities located the baby deer, who had been named Giggles due to the laugh-like noises she made.  Shelter staff next saw her limp body in a trash bag, slung over the shoulder of one of the agents.  She had been slated to go to a wildlife rehab center in Illinois the next day.

A local TV news reporter asked DNR Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer about the overkill:

“Could you have made a phone call before showing up, I mean, that’s a lot of resources,” WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry asked.

“If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” Niemeyer said.

Right.  Because a fawn named Giggles drinking out of a baby bottle is exactly like a drug bust.

The shelter’s president says she plans to sue the DNR.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.)

31 thoughts on “Zero Dark Thirty: Baby Deer Edition

  1. Good luck to her. The DNR loves to throw their weight around and never seems to suffer any repercussions.

    Guns at the ready, yeah. Because no kill shelters that rescue deer are just like drug buyers. Couldn’t just knock on the door and say, “Hey, we hear you have a deer. Do you know that’s against the law? Oh, you’ve got legit rescue lined up? Ok, we’ll help you transport.” Nope, don’t want to do that and seem all sensible, do we?

  2. Jesus Christ is this INSANE? SERIOUSLY – YOU HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO? Ignorant people (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) have no business sticking their noses in this. You should all be offended by YOURSELVES.

  3. I am totally lost for words. The DNR needs to be shutting down the inhumane breeders and Puppy Mills. Drawn guns??? Air surveillance? That is taking it too far. I am disgusted with this story. Action needs to be taken.

  4. Apparently the legal issue was regulations to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

    Which is horrible. Horrible horrible disease. You would NOT want to be a deer that dies of it.

    And planning to take the fawn over state lines, outside of the quarantine area, was the problem.

    A WI wildlife rehabber I know said that euthanizing the fawn was, legally speaking, a foregone conclusion in this instance. I haven’t gotten the details of specifically why that is from her, but I’m sure she knows and can explain it when she comes back online.

    But know what else is horrible?

    SWAT tactics used against Bambi-lovers.

    This will not encourage the animal-loving public to do the right thing with wildlife in the future, whatever that right thing is in any given instance.

    1. The fact that a legit rescue was willing to take the fawn from another state is interesting, considering the disease issue (CWD, brucellosis, etc.).

      I do have to wonder why we needed so very many men to “handle” the situation and why satellites and whatnot were used when just *talking* to people like a civilized human being would have done just fine? But the mentality of “Lawbreakers!!!1!” that puts people bottle feeding a fawn on the same level as drug dealers is pretty evident.

      How much money went into this super duper important operation, I wonder?

      1. With all the bad publicity this is generating, I expect WI state govt will simply request a drone strike next time they get tipped off to someone saving orphaned wildlife without a permit. Plausible deniability.

  5. Seems that the government is spreading the kill it if it has four legs tactic far and wide. Sadly there will be no repercussions just as there are none for people whose dogs are killed. Some people do win a suit and the tax payers pony up for it, the killers are rarely if ever disciplined. I wish it were different but can’t see what can be done. I’m sorry, I”m just pretty filled with despair over the slaughter of so many harmless and loved animals.

  6. Yah, I’d say that was over kill. I’m not sure I understand the DNR’s thinking on animal life. I had a situation in Minong WI several months ago where a woman was feeding several free-roaming cats and the makeshift shelter she erected for them happened to be on DNR land. The DNR came in and trapped eight cats, took them to the Washburn shelter where they promptly killed them instead of assisting with TNR because, the WACHS “believes that cats living in feral colonies cannot be kept healthy or comfortable enough for WCAHS to be involved in this type of program”. On top of that disregard for life the DNR also left behind four week old kittens in that makeshift shelter! Just makes me shake my head in disbelief. BTY-kittens were rescued by the caregiver and survived.

  7. Disgusting. And what’s worse is that they’re not embarrassed by this ridiculous action. Law enforcement can ignore tips about the Boston bombers being dangerous, but they jump into action when they get a report of a fawn? Of course a fawn can’t shoot back.

  8. Was there not ONE SINGLE PERSON in that whole SWAT group with just a tiny bit of common sense?? Was there not one person who was brave enough to speak up and say “hey, maybe we should just ASK them about this situation? why don’t we FIRST SEE if indeed they do have wildlife before we go and scare humans (and the wildlife too) to death and just see if they’re mistreating said wildlife?” Now one also has to wonder whose going to PAY for this little fiasco? Taxpayers you have already paid to have the aerial surveillance AND all those people on staff AND their overtime and uniforms and weapons and ammunition just to go “SAVE” this baby deer…how does THAT make YOU feel?

  9. They *should* sue. Clearly the Department has too much money on their hands and rescues could always use more funding. Poor Bambi, I mean Giggles. Lost her mom and then her life.


  11. People need to get back to basics. Treat people and animals with decency (Noun: Behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability: “she had the decency to come forward and confess), use common sense instead of referring to rules and regulations and let people and animals live their lives with little to no interference from you. Just be there to help when someone asks for your help. Where the heck is Andy Griffin when you need him, he would have known exactly what to do.

  12. By the way, you will hear more and more instances where law enforcement agencies will over step their bounds and innocent people and animals will get hurt and/or die. Do you all want to know why? Because we, as a society, have become complacent and we allow it to happen. Wake up people, you are losing your rights to live your lives in peace because you are relinquishing your rights one at a time in the name of security. Concern yourselves not with the terrorists out there, your biggest concerns right now needs to be the terrorists in your own government.

  13. Ok so this CWD disease was a concern. Was rhis deer presenting syptoms of this disease? giggles looked pretty bealthy to me. So we should have every deer killed in case they might get CWD? Sounds like a lame excuse for killing an innocent animal with a rescue lined up! Unfreakinbelievable what our tax dollars are wasted on. Fortunately, Some of us believe in Karma.

  14. This isn’t the first case like this I’ve read about. The DNR seems to like to kill orphaned fawns and baby crows that people take in and try to nurse back to health.

  15. This is one of the most horrible stories I’ve ever read. I don’t care if there was a risk of illness, the fawn could have been tested and kept apart from other animals. The tactics were nothing short of over the top storm-trooper brutality. My take? The state of Wisconsin has become a police state and they do things like this to get the sheeple used to overly aggressive police tactics. If people don’t react loudly and often to this kind of trigger happy steroid addled behavior it will only get worse. Stand up people., make it public and keep talking about it!

  16. There are no words that can convey the horror here. And the fact that you have officials trying to justify this behavior on wasting disease… who exactly was at risk, here? There were no other deer at the shelter to be infected. The fawn herself certainly did not seem affected. Where does one come by ‘logic’ that says, “We have this terrible disease here that is killing the deer, so let’s go kill HEALTHY animals so they won’t have to suffer such an ugly death…” The mind boggles. I can see it now: the perfect solution for all of our problems. Let’s just blow up the damn planet. Then for sure there won’t be any more animals dying of wasting disease, or children dying of cancer, or war, or rape, or heck, anything horrible ever again! Seems like the perfect solution… if you are a storm trooper working for Wisconsin DNS. And I agree too with the others who very RIGHTFULLY want to know how much this government debacle cost the taxpayers. I mean, seriously, SERIOUSLY? Aerial reconnaissance?! Stake outs? Armed SWAT teams? All for one orphaned fawn?! If you can’t find reason by appealing to their humanity, then attack them on the basis of their abuse of our tax dollars for such a farcical affair.

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