A California man shot a doe and baby deer with a pellet gun, causing the animals a painful demise.
The deers were frequent visitors to his yard. They usually came by to snack on his bushes. He got fed up with them and decided to use a pellet gun, designed for smaller animals, to end the problem, SFGATE reported.
Mark Dickinson, 54, of Tiburon, California, was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. He was jailed and then released on bail. The gun used is a high-powered Gamo model with a scope, flashlight, and laser attachments.
The fawn lived longer than its mother, but the man is being criticized because of the prolonged suffering he inflicted on the animals, perhaps due to the weapon. Hunting is illegal in Tiburon and hunting deer is mostly illegal throughout California.
Dickinson is a pilot by profession. His case is being reviewed by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office. Dickinson’s lawyer, Charles Dresow, pleaded his client’s innocence in an interview with Marin Independent Journal.
“The Tiburon police should not have arrested my client and booked him into jail,” Dresow said. “He had no intent to be cruel or to harm the deer. Rather he was simply trying to scare them away from consuming new landscaping.”
Dickinson’s house is on a slope off the road. He found the deer consuming his plants and shot them around 5 a.m. Sept. 2. A neighbor heard the shots and called police, who found the injured deer lying there.
The police called Marin Humane, a local animal shelter, but the deer died before animal control officers arrived at the site. The town is located on the Tiburon Peninsula, which juts out into the San Francisco Bay.
“It did cause great suffering,” said Marin Humane spokeswoman Lisa Bloch. “There’re all kinds of ways to keep deer from eating your landscaping. Their only crime was eating vegetation. They weren’t menacing anyone. No one was in danger.”
Bloch’s organization will perform X-rays to see where the pellets entered the deer. Gammo’s website said its air rifles are best for “nuisance animals such as mice, rats, birds, and snakes,” as well as “small game such as rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and crows.” Deer might be a little too big for a pellet gunshot without causing the cruel suffering the man is being charged with inducing.