Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roadside euthanasia

An ARFCOM thread on why police officers don't put down animals that have been crippled by traffic. I commented that often it's department policy that either prohibits this practice, or makes it a big ball of red tape in order to do so, and not because cops are heartless and like to watch bambi struggle for life on roadways.


True story:
Nine years ago I was home from Camp Lejeune for the weekend, driving back from the video store (we still had those then) at about 10:00 at night on a four lane non-divided highway. I was close behind the only other car on the road at the time -- a black Nissan Pathfinder -- when two deer crossed the highway from our left, the trailing one getting hit on the front end of the Nissan. I could tell that he hit that deer really hard, as he caught it with the entire front end, and we were moving along at just over 50 mph. We both stopped, checked the damage, and I gave the driver and his wife my personal information as a witness in case their insurance scumbags tried to screw them on getting the car fixed. The driver and I found the deer on the edge of the road on the right side about fifty yards behind us, still alive, with its spine broken just forward of its hips. It kept trying to stand up, and because its back legs didn't work it would topple over to its left, bringing it closer and closer to the middle of the roadway.

County deputies show up, and take a solid ten minutes to get permission from the Sheriff or Sergeant or whomever was in charge that night to publicly execute this crippled doe. State cops show up stop traffic both ways, which was now significantly built up, and what I presume to have been the most junior county deputy of the six or so who were there racks the slide to chamber a round (I don't know why she didn't have her duty weapon in condition 1, but I saw it with my own eyes that she carried on an empty chamber). Me and the driver were walking back to our cars when I heard the shot. . . . and then another. . . .and then another.

I knew immediately what was going on, so I said goodbye to the driver and headed back down to see what kind of macabre scene this clueless deputy had just subjected her audience of onlookers to. It was. . . . substantial.

She had shot this youthful, two or three year old doe three times in the face at close range, but hadn't hit anything of importance -- and by importance I mean something structurally vital that would mercifully end the poor critter's life as humanely as possible. All the other jolly cops standing around weren't giving her any instruction, as they themselves didn't know how in the world this superhuman deer could take three rounds of .40 S&W in the head and still be completely alert, looking around with blood pouring out from what was left of her nose and jaw. I note that one of the police cruisers was positioned in the turn lane so that its headlights fully illuminated the public display of incompetence, and traffic was stopped not more than 75 yards away.

Whom I believed to be the senior deputy said: "Well, we'll just have to wait for the ol' girl to bleed out." I told them all in not the most tactful voice that we would be there for awhile, as superficial gun shot wounds have that tendency to, you know, heal, and that a deer missing all its teeth would definitely die -- of starvation -- but there would be a little bit too much overtime involved with the supervision of that. Then, like a middle-school science teacher, I pointed out that the deer did in fact have a head, which included the brain housing group, and attached to that was the beak-like extension of the jaw and nose, that didn't. Deputy Sally hadn't hit that brain housing group, but if she could do that, then everybody could go home.

More permission was asked for more rounds to be expended on behalf of this traumatized deer, and when it was given I pointed out just where to shoot.

Me: "Right here." (pointing to a spot right below the ear)
Cop: "Right where?"
Me: (Grabbing the deer by the ear and turning her head towards the cruiser's lights) "Here. Shoot her with one round here."
Cop: "Oh. . .ok" (as she starts to aim from six feet away I stop her)
Me: (pointing to the muzzle of her Sig pistol) "No ma'am. This is a doe. It doesn't have antlers, so it can't hurt you. Put your weapon against her head so that you don't miss."

At the crack of the gun it was finally over. All the cops looked at me like I was some sort of deer whisperer, knowing just what to do. In reality, I've just killed a ton of animals and know where the vitals are; and that doe would have been better served if, at the moment I found her, I had killed her with my pocket knife. For this reason I don't encourage cops to put animals out of their misery because, in my opinion, they are much more likely to put them IN misery.
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