You'd never know that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is in the middle of a controversy. Their website: business as usual with no hint of any problem at all.
However, we know that about a dozen DNR wardens and sheriffs raided a no-kill animal shelter to kill a fawn that was brought to it for care. The tiny article with its sanitized coverage doesn't begin to describe the militarized raid by heavily armed DNR agents and sheriffs which was featured on a local news channel.
I can't embed the video, but here's the transcript:
Armed Agents raid an animal shelter for a baby deer! Tonight Colleen Henry investigates an operation raising questions about the use of government resources and the state policy that meant a death sentence for the fawn.(note that I've retyped and paragraphed the transcript to make it easier to read - the content was not changed)
Ray Schulte/Shelter Employee - It was like a SWAT TEAM two weeks ago, Ray Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha- Illinois border...when a swarm of squad cars arrived...and officers unloaded...a search warrant.
Ray Schulze: "9 DNR Agents and 4 Deputy Sheriffs and they were all armed to the teeth.
The focus of their search...a baby fawn brought here by an Illinois family worried she'd been abandoned by her mother..
Ray Schulze: When it made a little noise, it sounded like it was laughing.
Schulze videotaped the fawn they named Giggles during the two weeks she was here - The DNR began investigating after two anonymous calls reporting a baby deer at the No-Kill Shelter.
Colleen Standup - The warden drafted an affidavit for the search warrant, complete with aerial photos...in which he describes getting himself into a position where he was able to see the fawn going in and out of the barn. Agents told staff they came to seize the deer because Wisconsin Law forbids the possession of wildlife.
Ray Schulze/Shelter Employee - I said the deer is scheduled to go to the wildlife reserve the next day. A wildlife reserve in Illinois...which allows the rehabilitation of deer. Schulze says agents corralled workers near the picnic area...then set out in search of the fawn. I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter - and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder like a bag of ... she was in a body bag. I said why did you do that? He said that's our policy and I said that's one hell of a policy.
The Department of Natural Resources spoke to 12 News about the fawn by phone..
Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer says the law requires the DNR Agents to euthanize animals like Giggles because of the potential for disease ...and danger to humans. These are always very difficult situations for both parties involved and we are empathetic to the fact of what happened because we know in our heart of hearts they tried to do the right thing.
Colleen asks: Could you have made a phone call before showing up, I mean, that's a lot of resources?
Jennifer Niemeyer/DNR - 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 denies agents killed Giggles at the shelter - She says they tranquilized her, then euthanized her off-site.
Cindy Schultz/Shelter President - I don't care where they would have killed her, it would have been wrong. She says she plans to sue the DNR for removing Giggles without even a court hearing...She also questions what such an operation costs taxpayers. They went way over the top for a little tiny baby deer. When I saw Giggles being carried across the thing...Yeah, I cried. She says she has nightmares about the deer raid...
He hasn't moved her feed bowl or baby bottle. The DNR tells 12 News despite the allegations outlined in its search warrant, it will file no charges against the shelter.
Colleen Henry. WISN 12 News. Back to you. In certain circumstances, Wisconsin allows organizations to house wild deer...but only with a state-issued permit.
Read more: http://www.wisn.com/....
There aren't an photos because the SWAT style guys corralled up the volunteer staff at the shelter and even grabbed a cell phone that was being used to take pictures (yeah, they deleted the pictures - wouldn't want "evidence" for the public of their massively over-kill killing operation. And in FitzWalkerStan, it's Constitution Schmonstitution, people got no stinking rights here when the raiders got machine guns).
I contacted the DNR as a taxpayer in Wisconsin (yeah, Republicans love that description). The "meh" response I received, notable only for the lack of response by their "Customer Service Specialist" made me even more angry. "I'll pass it along" was all I got after a long silent delay when I was done talking and that happened 3 times during my call.
I'm not sure now what makes me more angry, the "heavy sigh, it's another citizen calling" response or the brutal terrorist tactics used and unnecessary killing of a baby deer.
Bottom line: DNR doesn't care about pesky calls from Wisconsinites.
While the website of the DNR looks calm, they're scrambling to apply more and more coats of whitewash on their Facebook Page where comments to the DNR have been both numerous and brutal since the incident was made public.
So, if you'd like to make some noise, I'd recommend:
---Facebook if you have an account there. Read the comments and join in.
---Wisconsin DNR (not that they're going to care):
Customer Service: 1-888-936-7463
Tip Line: 1-800-847-9367
---The Wisconsin State Fair is going on now. The DNR has a very prominent booth and display. You definitely want to stop in there and perhaps have a word with the staff.
---H/T to ranger995 for posting a comment with a link to sign a petition on Change.org asking for an investigation.
PS: Interesting side note. Scott Walker himself pardoned a deer slated to be killed by the DNR after a story appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Too bad the story of Giggles didn't appear in the news before militarized execution.
Or, perhaps, that's the reason SWAT style officers were sent out in the first place. Get that fawn before the Governor gets publicly shamed into a pardon.
PPS: Watch out Solidarity Singers. That fawn got taken out because the shelter didn't have a wildlife permit. Apparently not having a permit now has life and death consequences in FitzWalkerStan.
Update: Comments about this on DNRs Facebook are bleeding into their other posts like the one about blue-green algae ("Why not rush in and shoot it? Seems to be effective"), camping (uh, oh - "i wouldn't want to be sleeping in that tent - might be mistaken for a baby fawn in a body bag!"), bald eagles ("Beautiful! I can assume there is a DNR raiding party standing by to deliver the full force of vengeance upon these disease ridden vermin?") and others. Make sure to check those out, too.
Update 2: Looks like the DNR has pulled their Facebook page. They were getting hammered in each and every thread by outraged folks.
They still need to hear about how terrible their actions were and the impact that this has had on all of us. You don't need militarized police to terrorize people working at a shelter, grab their phones to destroy evidence of wrongdoing, and haul a little deer off in a body bag. You don't need aerial reconnaissance or thug tactics because the shelter didn't have a permit for wildlife. The situation would have rectified itself the next day with Giggles being transferred to a shelter with a permit.
And when did permits (papers! I must see your papers!!) or the lack of them become matters to be dealt with so ruthlessly (see: Solidarity Singers). Might doesn't make right. It never has.
Maybe they forget that this is America, but we haven't.