Call of Duty V: Bambi Raid

by Walter Olson on August 4, 2013

According to Ed Schulze, an employee of the Society of St. Francis animal shelter in Kenosha, Wisconsin, nine state agents and four deputy sheriffs were “armed to the teeth” and appeared “like a SWAT team” when they descended without warning on the shelter two weeks ago. Their target? A fawn that shelter employees had rescued and planned to release into a wildlife preserve the next day. Possession of wildlife is unlawful in Wisconsin, and officials proceeded to euthanize (kill) the juvenile deer. [WISN]

Asked later why the action was staged as a surprise raid, supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer told WISN, “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.”

Much of the reaction to this story concentrates on sympathy for the deer, which is understandable, but please spare some thought for what happens to humans when such police conduct comes to be accepted as normal. Our coverage of Radley Balko’s new book on police militarization, Rise of the Warrior Cop, is here, here, here, etc.

{ 9 comments }

1 ps 08.04.13 at 11:31 am

i wonder if they removed the fire pole when they were finished.

2 Canvasback 08.04.13 at 4:32 pm

They probably drew straws to see who got bragging rights on the kill, then took some fresh venison to the celebratory BBQ later on. It’s a great time to be in law enforcement.

3 gitarcarver 08.04.13 at 5:02 pm

I too have sympathy for the deer, but the reaction of the Department of Natural Resource (DNR) cops and the sheriff’s department is tough to comprehend.

The warrant included aerial photos and maps showing where the DNR agent had hid to observe the shelter and the deer. The raid was conducted by 14 LEO’s.

The DNR spokesperson’s response comparing the fawn to an illegal drug is just plain weird.

The police wonder why there is pushback and distrust from normally law abiding citizens.

This incident illustrates why.

4 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.04.13 at 6:26 pm

About 20 years ago China’s rising urban middle class collided with a Maoist ban on owning dogs (bourgeois decadence, indeed “running dog” was a favorite Maoist insult). When a dog was reported, the police would burst into the apartment and kill the dog on the spot. I believe that current Chinese law is somewhat less ferocious.

5 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.04.13 at 6:44 pm

On the WISN comment page, I saw a reason offered why it might have been best to kill the fawn: to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). In New England, we are still dealing with a wave of rabies spread by hunters transporting raccoons across State lines. But the poster agrees the SWAT team tactics were needlessly offensive

——–begin copied post———–
Guest> DragonsTalon
•a day ago
(#1)It is against the law to transport wildlife over state lines. However, if you want to argue against that, fine. Why did it take 2 WEEKS for this shelter (who should know WI animal laws) to find a place to take this deer? With the invention of the internet, I found places to take a baby squirrel within hours, not weeks. Nor did I name the squirrel.
(#2)Also Wisconsin has an abundance of deer, which is only causing the spreading of CWD to spread faster. That is why ANY licensed wildlife center would have to euthanize this deer due to the county it was in.
(#3)I don’t agree with the extreme tactics, but the shelter should have never taken the deer because they should have known the laws to begin with.
————- end of copied post———-

6 wfjag 08.05.13 at 11:31 am

Elian Gonzalez was a model for others to emulate.
But, at least they didn’t do a Waco and burn the place to the ground.

7 mojo 08.05.13 at 11:42 am

So, the “Supervisor” sees no difference whatsoever between the two examples?

See what hiring the mentally handicapped gets ya?

8 No Name Guy 08.05.13 at 3:30 pm

What ever happened to one detective and one uniformed officer simply walking into the front door of the place, holding up the warrant and saying their business. This is a flipping wildlife shelter! Hellllooooooo. Proportionality to the risk? Corralling shelter workers at the picnic area? Ohhhhh….a bunch of fuzzy tree hugger types really are dangerous. 9 DNR agents and 4 deputies? WTF? How much did this cost? Idiots.

9 Greg Dwyer 08.05.13 at 4:00 pm

As a former employee of this animal shelter, I can confirm that they do indeed have a problem with following rules and regulations. I know of at least four other former employees (and me as well) who were not paid the wages owed to them. The place is quite filthy, infested with rodents and insects, and there is little communication between management and employees.

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