Orange Co ACOs Under Investigation After Cutting Deer’s Throat

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.)

8 thoughts on “Orange Co ACOs Under Investigation After Cutting Deer’s Throat

  1. Sounds like Susan Kang Schroeder needs good dose of empathy! She also needs to look further in law books to “causing an animal undue pain and suffering”, which I think is against the law, even in California!

    As for the two that tortured this poor animal, they deserve to fired and brought up on cruelty charges. Those two ACOs need a lesson: When someone offers to help so that you can do your job in a humane way LET THEM HELP. There was no excuse for what they did.

    1. … against the law, even in California …? WTF?

      California’s animal welfare laws are actually pretty good. Here’s a guide from Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Center:

      The major problems (at least as I see them) are that the laws are subject to suspension (as has happened to parts of the Hayden Law, though thankfully we were spared repeal), not always enforced or only selectively enforced, and don’t necessarily apply to all animals – this last is especially an issue with livestock and wildlife.

  2. The “what difference does it make, we’re going to kill it anyway” is an incredibly disturbing mentality, especially in a field where the “professionals” are supposed to care about their helpless charges.

    As for “not doing anything wrong”, let’s just imagine for a moment that someone came across the dead deer after the fact and called the police. Police call in a veterinarian, who documents the animal’s horrific torture. Now police are convinced that they’re looking for a psycho who enjoys torturing helpless wildlife…

    This is clearly criminal activity (and the act of unbalanced persons). Factor in that they had a VETERINARIAN on hand, begging to help, and you’ve got what amounts to thrill killers on your payroll.

    1. The attitude of “what difference does it make, we’re going to kill it anyway” explains most of the horrible things go on in kill-based animal ‘shelters’ nowadays, in my opinion.

  3. That was my thought, mikken. These ACOs really got a kick out of torturing and killing that poor deer. They are clearly mentally/morally bankrupt and should be nowhere around living things. And the woman who thought maybe it was okay because there isn’t a law specifically against torturing and slashing a living being – there are no words for that attitude.

  4. Paid leave? These bastards need to be on an extensive psychological hold in a high security hospital! Good God, I threw up when I read what they did. And I do not have a weak stomach/sensibly.

    Has anyone tried looking back at their past handling of dogs and cats? Because if they are this brazen with two people looking on, what in the hell are they up to when no one is looking?

  5. Who is running this shelter? Why are they so violent
    and negative about the care of homeless
    animals. Why would ugly people be allowed
    to care for helpless animals.

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