SOUTH MILFORD, Ind. (WNDU) - A small community in LaGrange County is horrified after a deer they grew accustomed to seeing around their homes was shot by an Indiana Department of Natural Resources officer, and they say children witnessed the entire incident unfold.
The DNR says one of their officers noticed the deer had unnatural behavior and feared it suffered from a disease, and therefore shot the deer “away and out of view from the children and adults that had been interacting with the deer.”
But residents who live in the area say the deer was shot in a residential area and that they and children witnessed it all.
The family who raised the deer say she was abandoned by her mother and was then taken in by them.
The deer would wander the area and would approach residents and let them pet her.
On Sunday, the deer approached children playing in a park in the town of South Milford and followed them home.
That’s when the DNR officer arrived and residents say he told children to go home before he chained the deer to his vehicle's bumper and shot her in the chest.
But residents say children were in their yards watching it all take place.
The family who raised the deer say the situation was handled terribly.
“It was heartbreaking, it was devastating," said a woman who helped raise the deer and who wished to remain anonymous. "Especially knowing that if you were to go to where she was shot and just look down the street about 100 yards, there’s a field and then there’s a tree line.”
“He could’ve walked her over there and not done it in town,” she added. “He also could have taken the initiative to try to locate where the deer came from since, she clearly wasn’t a threat or harming anybody.”
DNR did say it’s illegal to take an animal out of the wild and raise it without a permit. Abandoned or orphaned animals must be taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
As for this case, these residents say they plan to file a formal complaint.