Armed SWAT team raids shelter – kills Bambi …

3 Aug

bambi-in-crosshairsYes that title is over the top. It is preposterous and ridiculous. Unfortunately, unbelievably, it is also true and accurate.

“(There were) nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Schulze said. The focus of their search was a baby fawn brought there by an Illinois family worried she had been abandoned by her mother.”

And how did the Wisconsin DNR mouthpiece respond to local media when queried by them if this SWAT raid wasn’t a bit excessive? By admitting the treated this small animal shelter, and on baby deer, just as they would a high risk drug raid.

“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,”

If that’s not enough for you here is the initial excuse-making, errr … press release, the DNR put out:

Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity. None of our staff take joy in these situations. The department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild. In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce. Our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant. We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.

If you think that is laughable – you would find huge numbers of good folks around the world who would agree … as yes, this story, rightfully so, has gone viral.

After being soundly trashed, here is the statement I received today from the head of the Wisconsin DNR, Ms. Cathy Stepp – in response to my email to the Governor of Wisconsin’s office, highly ritical of the action of the DNR staff and leadership:

Dear Constituent,

Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity.  None of our staff take joy in these situations.  The department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild.  In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature.  It is a responsibility we take very seriously.  We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce.  Wardens did request voluntary compliance from the facility.  When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant.  We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.

Sincerely,

Cathy Stepp – Secretary, WI Dept of Natural Resources

y-u-kill-bambiMakes you feel all better … NOT.

Now, after this has gone viral worldwide, and after doing their best to smear the shelter with claims of a myriad of illegal and criminal offenses, which they used to justify their warrant and raid (which they have acknowledged they do not intend to prosecute the shelter over)  they claim they did ask for voluntary compliance.

Lets say they really did make a good faith effort to obtain voluntary compliance. First, if they did, it begs the question why wasn’t that mentioned originally, in response to direct questions from the local TV station?

Second, and more importantly, even if this small shelter refused to turn over this baby deer voluntarily … asking I’m pretty sure for some paperwork showing a right to do so, what possible justification was there for the show of force – a 13 member, “armed to the teeth” SWAT team, who by the DNR’s admission performed the same type raid as a high risk drug bust entails?

Here is the “threat” that required a heavily armed 13 member high risk SWAT team to apprehend and kill … say goodnight Giggles:

Bambi-Giggles

As I noted I wrote a somewhat detailed note t the Governor. The response from the DNR head is above. My response to her silly excuse-making, going all in and condoning the actions of her people, is below.  I did get a bit long-winded ….   🙂

Sorry Ms. Stepp – but what a load of rubbish.  And your excuse making press release condoning these actions, with its falsehoods, does nothing to help.The fawn was not illegally taken out of the wild. It was brought by citizens concerned for its well being to a dedicated and professional animal shelter. Who cared for the deer and arranged for it to be returned to the wild – to a wildlife sanctuary  – as quickly as possible. I have read your statutes – there was nothing “illegal” about taking the deer out of the wild – nor was there anything legally or ethically wrong with the shelter accepting and caring for that deer. That is what shelters do. There certainly are  ways to twist and subvert the statutes to a particular agenda, if that is ones intent.The Wisconsin DNR would not let the shelter successfully return the fawn to the wild – to the wildlife sanctuary. Instead they made the deer pay with its life. What a great example that sets for people who actually DID what the DNR is supposed to do – care about and take care of the wildlife.

This entire mess is a complete joke – and has rightly made you and your organization the laughing stock of, not only the country, but now it’s the world. You should be ashamed – of the actions of your department and staff, and of yourself for condoning this ridiculous situation.

You and the “SWAT team” boys, have just set back the public perception, already highly suspect, of the DNR by decades. The image of heavily armed, jack-booted thugs, terrorizing the staff of a small shelter, whose only crime is carrying about wildlife, to apprehend and kill a baby deer is literally unbelievable.

The animal was in a SHELTER. Brought there by concerned and caring members of the public – a family from ILLINOIS. Both of them were actually looking OUT for the animal – unlike the WI DNR. It was by all appearances an ILLINOIS deer according to news reports, delivered to the no-kill shelter on the WI/IL Border. The fawn was due to be placed in an ILLINOIS wildlife sanctuary the following day.

Your jack booted thugs couldn’t let that happen. Their little “war game” would have been over – they wouldn’t have been able to play SWAT team. But they certainly would have avoided all the negative publicity.

Instead a large number – 9 DNR officers – plus 4 Sheriff Deputies … showed up and performed a full out SWAT raid. Apparently after a full covert surveillance by DNR officers including apparently aerial photos.

For a baby deer. Let me repeat – for a BABY DEER.

A completely ridiculous and unjustified waste of resources not to mention a horrible PR nightmare. 100% – completely – unnecessary.

Instead of the detailed surveillance, as described in the documents – one officer – the same idiot that treated this apparently like a high crimes spy case – or perhaps a couple, just in case the shelter staff suddenly turned violent (yeah right) could have walked up to the door, and simply asked – do you have a deer in here? And then explained the law.  No amount of excuses or back-pedalling will change the stupidity and arrogance of this display of force.

As far as ‘having to’ enforce the laws – that is complete gibberish as well. Like any LEO you enforce the laws as required and appropriate for the circumstances. Many violations are treated with warnings.

That is why law enforcement has escalation of force policies – because some cops on the street are – like these officers – unable to use good judgment – looking for an excuse to dress up and use the maximum force they can.

The absolute “tell” here – the proof that these DNR officers were way out of line, simply looking for an excuse to play SWAT team – is the statement that the shelter is unlikely to be charged for any of the nefarious criminal acts alleged in the complaint – the crimes used to justify this raid. That is ALL the report was – an excuse to justify a massive show of force – all to capture and kill one baby deer, at an animal shelter … a fawn arranged to be returned to the woild the following day.

It is the actions of the DNR, the failure to make a reasonable effort at contact (and we pretty clearly know there was none by statements from the shelter staff)  prior to the raid, and then the ridiculous overkill of the raid itself. NINE DNR agents and FOUR Sheriff’s Deputies showed up “armed to the teeth”  and terrorized the poor staff at this small no-kill shelter.
Again, all to apprehend and kill a baby deer.
What POSSIBLE justification could there be for this massive show of force?
Your initial statement that the DNR had “the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity” is simply an insult to any intelligent person. There is nothing “difficult” about capturing and killing a baby deer. Period. And clearly the only thing “emotional” about this was the thrill they received by forming a 13 person assault team “armed to the teeth” to serve raid the animal shelter and capture and kill a baby deer.
The deer was NOT illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity. The deer rehabilitation policy your staff provided me, shows it is not illegal per se  to take deer out of the wild and place them in a facility for rehabilitation – so this statement by the DNR is an outright lie – purposely intended to smear the shelter and justify the DNR’s response here.The statement then says: “None of our staff take joy in these situations.” Really? It would seem they took great joy in assembling a heavily armed force of 9 DNR and 4 Sheriff’s Officers – all to perform a high risk raid and serve a warrant on a small no-kill animal shelter, terrorize its workers, and capture and kill a baby deer. There is absolutely nothing anywhere in this story that would justify anything remotely close to that show of force for this issue.The DNR statement continues: “The department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild.” No it doesn’t. Clearly here they made little or no effort to educate the poor folks they terrorized over their act of kindness.

And the DNR statement points out the further silliness of their position. Had this animal been left in the wild it would be alive today. It is only because people were concerned about the safety and well being of the animal that it is dead today. The Wisconsin DNR rewards the public’s efforts to care about and protect wildlife with a death sentence. This is simply inexcusable. If the animal was not a threat in the wild, simply bringing it to a shelter does nothing to change the threat.

That is the message this silly show of force sends. Don’t screw with the DNR, or we’ll suit up the SWAT Team, terrorize, smear and harass you, and kill your little deer Giggles too.

Next the wonderful mouthpiece for the DNR stated: “In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce.”

More deceit and falsehoods. Every law enforcement officer is supposed to  address each situation individually. Many violations get a warming. They absolutely and unequivocally have the right, ability and responsibility to choose how to enforce the laws.Our President has shown perfect examples of that – choosing not to enforce the law regarding Black Panthers with weapons intimidating voters – or choosing not to enforce the immigration laws as written because he disagrees with them.Last, perhaps the most ridiculous claim from the DNR: “We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.”

The DNR showed zero empathy for those poor folks involved. Nothing shows empathy like a 13 member heavily armed team of officers executing a SWAT like raid, all to capture and kill a baby deer shows zero empathy. It DOES show they have no understanding of empathy at all. And that they had zero concern about terrorizing these folks.A single, or at most couple of, officers .. simply knocking on the door, explaining the issue and what they had to do, would have got the job done. That would show empathy.The operational profile the DNR chose was that of a high risk warrant service – they acknowledge it was the same as would be used for a high risk drug raid and similar. There was zero reason or need to do so. It was ignorant, arrogant, stupid and completely unnecessary. It was also a colossal waste of taxpayer resources …

What the DNR did here – and the pathetic response and excuse-making – shows a serious problem. This increasing militarization of even the most routine quasi law enforcement actions must stop.  As should the mindset that allows these people to believe their over-the-top actions are somehow appropriate and justified.

This story is already going viral and national..  it has already hit “Drudge” and now gone international. The media won’t be able to resist “Heavily armed SWAT team captures and kills baby deer” … nor should they. It IS one of the most arrogant and ignorant displays of government stupidity in a long time.
Again that your officer’s went to the extreme of actual surveillance of the shelter, to gather “evidence” to support their silly search warrant – smearing the shelter with all kinds of criminal allegations to justify the warrant, and then – without by all appearances making any significant effort to simply contact the shelter, explain and ask for their help – your SWAT team wannabe’s show up with a 13 member “armed to the teeth” assault team and proceed to raid the shelter and terrorize its staff … all to capture and kill a baby deer – whose only offense was caring folks trying to help it.
The people involved in this – from top to bottom – should be fired. For waste of government funds, but more importantly for gross ignorance and complete disrespect for everything and everyone they involved.  And that includes the media relations staff, and you yourself Ms. Stepp for condoning this ridiculous action.
ANYONE that would EVER think or rationalize what they did was an acceptable level of response to this has no business working for the state. Period.

kill-bambi2

Damn. That was some soapbox, I better climb down before I get hurt. I’m certain there’s a lotta folks in the muckety-muck section of Wisconsin government clicking their little ruby heels together tonite and chanting “I wish I may, I wish I might… make this damn thing disappear tonite …”

Sorry to those folks … but stupidity and arrogance has a much longer shelf life than that – especially when it has “SWAT Team” – “Baby deer” and “kill” in the mix.

Perhaps you might try honesty – admit the ridiculousness here, and tell us how you will see it doesn’t happen again.

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