The Cops killed Bambi! The Bastards!


Murali did his undergraduate degree in molecular biology with a minor in biophysics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He then changed direction and did his Masters in Philosophy also at NUS. Now, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

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44 Responses

  1. Badtux says:

    Snark aside, Bambi likely was orphaned due to Mom having CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) which is endemic in the area where she was found and Bambi thus likely was herself infected with CWD, and the shelter owner was a) knowingly breaking multiple laws by boarding Bambi for those two weeks (laws prohibiting transport of wildlife across state lines, laws prohibiting wildlife rescue without a permit, and of course laws requiring wildlife carrying CWD to be reported immediately to the proper authorities) , and b) was well known to the local Sheriff’s department as a “hardcase” who would not voluntarily give up Bambi. They likely notified Wildlife & Fisheries that they’d better show up in force if they wanted to get Bambi, otherwise the teenage volunteers would hustle Bambi into hiding while the ornery old lady held off one or two angents.

    That said, thirteen police officers for one unarmed ornery old lady, a bunch of teenage volunteers, and one small deer does seem… well. Let’s put it this way. They clearly need to buy some of these, because clearly they have none of their own.


    • Murali in reply to Badtux says:

      There are lots of things that may orphan a fawn. I’m not sure about the actual prevalence of CWD among wild deer in SE Wisconsin. From Wikipedia, all I can tell is that it is an extremely low incidence disease. The last time CWD was detected near the area was in south central Wisconsin more than 10 years ago. While this being a case of CWD would best exculpate the police actions, I doubt that it is actually probable that the fawn had it.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Murali says:

        Well the fawn might have had fleas (which can spread bubonic plague), or lice (which can spread typhus), or even pink eye.

        Hey, kids might carry those, too! I’m calling the Wisconsin police and having them raid elementary schools. They need to put those snot-nosed tots down and carry them out in body bags before some horrible disease sweeps through Milwaukee. It’s the only way to be sure.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Murali says:


        In this situation the risk of CWD was too great to take a chance. It is a major problem with North American deer herds.Report

      • Murali in reply to Murali says:

        I don’t know, unless orphaned fawns are found everyday, they could have just taken it back for testing.

        I don’t know that the risks of it spreading is that great if you quarantine it until it has been cleared.Report

      • Rod Engelsman in reply to Murali says:

        The only way I know to test for CWD is to dissect the brain. Doesn’t help the fawn much.Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Badtux says:

      Badtux, that’s three “likelies,” without a shred of actual evidence. It’s ok to make such speculations, so long as we are clear that they arevindeed very speculative.Report

    • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

      Approximately 60% of deer in the area tested by W&F are carrying CWD due to a recent outbreak. That’s more than “a possibility”. That’s a virtual certainty that an orphaned fawn at this point of the year in that area is carrying CWD, gotten from her mother.

      In other words, Bambi had to die to avoid carrying CWD to another herd. Furthermore, the shelter owner is the former head of the local SPCA and had to know that she was breaking the law by sheltering and transporting Bambi, and is well known in the area as “cantankerous”. The chances of her directing her volunteers to hide Bambi if the fish cops knocked on her door are almost 100%. So sending one cop to knock on the door wouldn’t have worked, it would have just meant that they hustled Bambi out of town hours later.

      A SWAT-style raid with 13 cops though… the mind boggles. An elderly shelter owner and a bunch of teenage volunteers (mostly girls) are *not* the kind of threat that warrants that kind of armed response! What do they use for a meth lab — the National Guard?!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Badtux says:

        Is CWD something that falls under police jurisdiction?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Badtux says:

        They saw the word “Chronic” in there. You understand.Report

      • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

        Nine of the cops were WIldlife & FIsheries law enforcement rangers who have jurisdiction over wildlife and are charged by state law with disease management in the deer herd. The other four were Sheriff’s deputies who, according to reports on the scene, mostly just leaned against their cars and watched the show. They were there to arrest the shelter owner or volunteers if they tried to assault the fish cops, and there was four of them apparently to insure enough patrol car seats to bag’em all if necessary.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Badtux says:

        The Wildlife and Fisheries Rangers have that equipment at their disposal?

        How in the flying heck do they have that equipment at their disposal?Report

      • George Turner in reply to Badtux says:

        The deer they’re testing are probably the ones that obviously have CWD.

        “According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ May Wildlife Management Report, Wisconsin has intensively monitored Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for 11 years. Between 2002 and April 2013, the DNR tested over 182,000 free-ranging deer, of which over 2,100 have tested positive for CWD.”

        “The southeast CWD outbreak is contiguous with a CWD area in northern Illinois where 372 CWD positive deer have been found since 2002.”

        “Since 2002, CWD prevalence within the department’s western monitoring area has shown an overall increasing trend in all sex and age classes. During the past 11 years, the trend in prevalence in adult male deer has risen from 8 percent to 10 percent, to over 20 percent, and in adult female deer from about 3 percent to 4 percent, to approximately 9 percent. During that same time, the prevalence trend in yearling male deer has increased from about 2 percent to about 6 percent and in yearling female deer from roughly 2 percent to about 5 percent.

        The DNR continues to see similar trends in the eastern monitoring area as well, albeit at lower prevalence levels.”

        That’s from June 6 by the DNR.Report

      • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

        Well they have the AR-15 rifles for hunting deer, obviously, as the fine folk at Popehat pointed out ;). But really, wildlife rangers operate alone in the bush dealing with heavily armed people (poachers and meth cookers) on a regular basis. They normally do carry a rifle when on duty, and the AR-15 is a nice bush rifle if kept scrupulously clean — it’s lightweight, accurate, and has decent brush penetration power in a jungle/forest firefight. It was called a SWAT-*style* RAID, I’m quite sure the rangers weren’t blinged out with the latest in tacti-cool gear that a “real” SWAT team would have brought on point, they were likely just wearing the normal camo and fishing vests they wear in the field to keep odds and ends handy (the vests) and hide themselves from poachers until the last moment (the camo).Report

      • George Turner in reply to Badtux says:


        You’re saying that without a couch, a TV, and a college kid, the likelihood of an actual case of chronic wasting disease is remote?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Badtux says:

        If Bambi was holding a bong, all bets are off.Report

      • Murali in reply to Badtux says:

        Even if he was holding a Bong it would have ben a victimless crime.Report

  2. Glyph says:

    Obligatory (to anyone who gets this stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I apologize in advance):

    Now THAT’S music!Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    What was the conversation like in the police house?

    “Hey, guys. I think we should do this sort of thing.”
    “Oh, good. We’ll get to put on our outfits.”
    “Yeah, it’ll be good practice.”Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    The best comment I’ve seen so far is that this is, itself, an answer to a gun control argument.

    “You don’t need an assault rifle to hunt deer.”
    (points to article)Report

  5. NewDealer says:

    Do the police learn? Do they even care to learn?

    There have a been countless stories like this. You would think that someone along the line would think. “This is really bad PR! Maybe we should do something to make sure this doesn’t happen”

    Where is Tod Kelley to explain the risk management prospective?Report

    • morat20 in reply to NewDealer says:

      It’s all good. As Scalia noted, there’s a “new professionalism” among police which means there’s no bad behavior anymore and no need to force good behavior.

      We all know our Miranda rights — thanks to those professional police — so no cop would think of breaking them.

      (Seriously, I’m STILL irritated at that case and Scalia in general. I’m sure cops are REALLY PROFESSIONAL to a effing Supreme Court judge, but one only has to open a newspaper to see that ain’t the case for everyone else).Report

  6. George Turner says:

    Mark Steyn weighed in on this and the case of a 95-year old veteran in a nursing home who didn’t want to take his medicine. (The cops busted through the door with a riot shield, tased him, and then fatally shot him. That’ll teach him a lesson.)Report

  7. Mike Dwyer says:

    One interesting point I find in some of the comments is that it was over-the-top for police to show up outfitted a certain way? Why? Are we really that in to symbology with regards to law enforcement? Law enforcement dressed in SWAT gear usually don’t hurt anyone. Cops dressed in standard uniforms sometimes do hurt people. I find it hard to believe that their apparel is a factor in those situations.Report

    • Murali in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      One is more obviously scary than another. If shows up at my front door all kitted out in swat gear, he is prepared to not only experience more violence, but also to dish it out. A cop comes in wearing the standard navy blues, even if he does have a service revolver holstered to his hip, he is just doing his regular stuff. I see those people all the time, and they never give me any hassle. That SWAT gear? we only see it in movies when the cops are going to kick someone’s ass. If they show up at my house like that, I could be really worried that they are about to kick mine.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Are we really that in to symbology with regards to law enforcement?….I find it hard to believe that their apparel is a factor in those situations.

      Well, I know that my black friend wasn’t too happy when, with Halloween still months away, I wore my “ghost” costume over to his house.

      BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS, yes. Symbolism is important. Both for the citizen and for the policeman. Show up dressed like stormtroopers, don’t be surprised when people see you as representatives of the Empire and/or a blaster fight breaks out. I imagine medieval people felt differently when the guy knocking on the door of their hut was wearing armor and a helmet rather than clothing.

      More and more, the images we are seeing of the people purportedly here to serve and protect us, look like this:

      Mike, I know you have LEO family background, and sympathy for LEO’s, and they have a hard job. But I urge you to take Balko’s critiques to heart. The militarized direction (the apparel is indicative of a mindset and tactical shift) American law enforcement has been taking is not only bad for citizens, it makes cops more likely to get hurt and killed too, because it tends to escalate tensions, rather than de-escalate them.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        But if you walk around downtown with a .45 on your hip, you’re just exercising your 2nd Amendment rights Anyone who gets freaked out by it is ignorant.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        I think that it’s reasonable to make a distinction between someone wearing a gun on their hip and holding a piece of paper that says “I CAN KILL WHOMEVER DOES NOT RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!!! Seriously, even if it’s considered 100% unjustified? I’ll just get this piece of paper taken away instead of going to trial” and someone merely wearing a gun on their hip.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I think the argument on the H&R board was that this was a job more appropriate for a guy in a Ranger Rick outfit with a clipboard and a .22 (if it came to that).Report

    • LWA in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      “I find it hard to believe that their apparel is a factor in those situations”
      I don’t find it at all hard to believe. The clothing and uniforms we wear send very clear signals as to our intent and threat level.

      Arriving dressed in paramilitary unifroms and carrying combat weapons, signals a clear intent to engage in combat.
      If you want empirical evidence, dress that way and enter a bank or airport. Report back on how that turns out.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LWA says:

        If you want empirical evidence, dress that way and enter a bank or airport. Report back on how that turns out.

        Or, god forbid, a school or workplace.Report

    • Badtux in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      My suspicion is that they were outfitted in their normal uniforms — their duty uniforms for the four Sheriff’s deputies, their field gear (camo coveralls, hunting boots, and fishing vests with their badge / ID stuck on it) for the fish cops. It was the tactics used by the fish cops that got it the appellation “SWAT-like raid”.

      Regarding testing for CWD, the test for CWD is to kill the deer and examine the brain. The fawn is dead at the end of the process regardless.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Badtux says:

        Why would they care if a fawn that obviously died from police intervention had CWD, since it can’t spread it? In fact, why did they care about this fawn at all since it was the only fawn in that entire section of Wisconsin that couldn’t possibly spread CWD to other deer? If Wisconsin tested all their deer for CWD, wouldn’t they have a couple thousands of confirmed cases and a hundred thousand or so dead deer on their hands? Maybe they shouldn’t use a medical test that has a 100% fatality rate.Report

      • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

        George, they cared about that fawn because a) it was illegally imported from Illinois (granted, only a few miles away, but still), b) was going to be adopted out to an area *without* CWD that was going to illegally move it across state lines *again*, and c) if it wasn’t adopted out, nobody knows how CWD is transmitted or whether it can be transmitted to humans (and in humans prion-based TSE’s take years before symptoms appear so it wouldn’t be immediately obvious that you were infected), so yes, there was a possible health risk to humans if a lot of humans were in close personal contact with the deer.

        Regarding the supply of dead deer brains that they test for CWD, they come from hunters — hunters understandably aren’t interested in possibly contracting a brain-eating disease, and have their deer tested by W&F prior to eating them. W&F clearly doesn’t test live deer, because then they’d be dead deer. They’d clearly love to have a test that worked on live deer and scientists are working on one, but right now the only way to diagnose CWD is to slice up brains and look for the characteristic tiny holes in the cortex.

        So Bambi had to die. BIg deal, too many hoof rats anyhow, hunting is no longer keeping up with the overpopulation problem in most parts of the country. But that’s not the point. The point is that treating an ornery old lady and a bunch of teenage girl volunteers as if they were meth dealer criminals and conducting a mass raid like this was ridiculous and shows a serious lack of balls on the part of the fish cops.Report

      • Shazbot3 in reply to Badtux says:

        “too many hoof rats anyhow”

        I suspect this was their attitude as well.

        Morally disgusting.Report

      • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

        Don’t tell me that you’re one of those people who thinks animals are morally superior to people? Because they aren’t. Evolution doesn’t care about our morality, and the laws of predation simply *are*. If predation is not taking place because the predators have all been killed or lack interest in predation, then ecological disaster happens. That is what’s happening with deer — they are overpopulating everywhere that they exist and causing ecological havoc, and people like you who think killing deer is morally wrong (combined with mass extermination of most predators) are interfering with the normal ecological predation processes that would keep their population in check.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Badtux says:

        “saving” a baby deer is like trying to save a baby pigeon.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Badtux says:

        It’s not like that at all.

        Deer are cuter.Report

      • Badtux in reply to Badtux says:

        Sorry, I don’t think deer are cute. Of course, my closest encounters with deer have been when they caused thousands of dollars of damage to my cars, so maybe that’s why I have no real liking for the hoof rats… the morons just jump right in front of cars for no reason, as far as I can tell. Baffling. In some areas they might as well be the official state pavement, sort of like armadillos in Texas… and unfortunately as with armadillos, they breed so rapidly (and have so few mortal enemies left) that predation from automobiles isn’t serving to keep their populations in check.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Badtux says:

        They’re cuter at a distance, I will grant, and not as cute when they are hogging up the road.Report

  8. Shazbot3 says:

    If it is true that the problem was that the deer was from an area where CWD is common (I’d like to hear from academic veterinarians and not Fish and Wildlife who are often way off base), then why not make an effort to return it to that area or to move it to a shelter where other animals from that area have been rescued?

    If this deer from that area should be shot because of a chance it has CWD, then all deer from that area should be shot too.

    There are cases where euthanizing an animal is very justified, but I need to see that explained by an unbiased academic party before I concede that it wasn’t just rank indifference, cruelty, or stupidity.Report