FOREST LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — A Forest Lake family is upset after two fawns that made a home on their property were shot by a police officer.
The Forest Lake Police Department said the officer was acting on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who believed the two fawns posed a health risk to other animals.
On Jan. 3, police say they received an email from the DNR advising them of two collared deer near the area of Highway 97 and North Shore Trail. The email advised officers to shoot the deer if they were located, saying they were likely captured and collared illegally.
Around 7 a.m. on Jan. 14, an officer said he nearly hit the two deer while driving near that location. The officer noticed the deer were wearing collars, as stated in the DNR email. He removed his department-issued shotgun and shot the first deer. The second deer ran into the backyard of a home on North Shore Trail.
The officer said he followed the deer and shot it. He said both deer were shot about 50 to 60 yards from the residence.
Jeff Carpenter said he woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of gunshots.
When he went to investigate he discovered a Forest Lake Police officer standing over the dead deer holding a shotgun.
Carpenter said the two fawns roaming in his backyard just kind of made themselves at home.
“She got her name by Abbie, the abandoned baby, and she showed up in our doghouse one day,” he said.
First Abbie and then Pinkie, both became a fixture throughout their Forest Lake neighborhood, even the family dogs got along with the deer.
“We never pinned them, never were raising them to be,” Carpenter said. “They were independent wild animals coming and going on this property as they please.”
That was until last Saturday, when Carpenter woke to the sound of gunfire.
“I heard a loud pop or bang but I didn’t think it could be a shotgun,” he said.
Minutes later he heard another shotgun blast.
When he went to investigate he found a Forest Lake police officer standing over Abbie with a shotgun.
Pinkie was found feet away in the front of the house, she too, had been shot.
Carpenter asked the officer why, and he said the DNR told them to kill the deer.
The DNR says they asked Forest Lake to help them destroy the animals.
They say the deer were collared, leading them to believe they escaped from a facility, and with the threat of disease, they had no choice.
“And that’s what it’s all centered around,” said Capt. Gregory Salo of the Minnesota DNR. “We’ve had the scare up north with bovine tuberculosis. We just had a scare in 2010 with chronic wasting disease.”
The DNR says it is illegal to raise wild animals. The deer will be tested to see if they were diseased.
Carpenter says he put collars on the deer so he could identify them from the others.
The DNR will also be conducting an investigation on the incident.