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Fawn wasn't shot in face last week, Waynesville police chief emphasizes
Fawn wasn't shot in face last week, Waynesville police chief emphasizes

Waynesville Police Chief Bob Carter
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (June 15, 2010) — As a retired Army engineer NCO and former drill sergeant who has spent many years in his second career on the Waynesville Police Department, Waynesville Police Chief Bob Carter is well-known for publicly defending his officers and doesn’t like criticisms that he believes to be unjustified.

Much of what has been said publicly about last week’s baby deer shooting incident falls into that category, Carter said in a Tuesday morning interview.

“My officers do not like shooting animals, period. I want the point made that officers do not like having to do this, but it has to be done, sometimes,” Carter said.

Carter said the Waynesville officer who shot the fawn didn’t shoot it in the face or the head, as has been reported.

“The deer was not shot in the head,” Carter said. “It was shot twice because the first one to the neck didn’t sever the artery so the second one was to the heart … those are the areas where if you are a hunter, you drop the deer. Her not being a hunter, she had to take a second shot.”

That’s important, Carter said, because the purpose behind shooting the deer was to end suffering, not cause pain. Aiming at vital organs is key to quickly dispatching an animal, Carter said.

“Appropriate action was taken appropriately,” Carter said. “I asked questions. ‘Is it moving, is it trying to get away from civilians?’ and the answer was ‘No, it’s got puss and green all over the hind end.’”

Those decisions are typically made by state conservation agents, but that’s not always possible.

“In the blotter I’ve got where twice we called conservation, we had no response and I had to make a decision,” Carter said. “(The officer) didn’t want to do this. They called me in the radio, animal control was brand new, and I said that if it has pus coming out the hind end, it is sick, it is diseased.”

Reports that the officer was laughing about shooting the deer are also wrong, Carter said.

“She was not laughing about this. There was something else she was talking about earlier and it had nothing to do with that case there,” Carter said.

Late spring and early summer are common times that law enforcement personnel have to deal with deer, Carter said — and not only deer but also other animals.

“Deer are moving, and so are the coons and stuff because it is hot … In the past I’ve had to shoot coons in the parking lot of PriceCutter that were rabid,” Carter said. “We are not the only ones. Every municipality deals with this, and also county and state, if it is seriously wounded and isn’t going to make it due to injuries or disease, but the policy is always to contact conservation officers and then a report follows where we inform them of the situation.”

The most common reason animals have to be shot is due to car crashes, Carter said, but also when they’re diseased.

“Any animal that gets hit is suffering. We take the shot to cease the suffering of the animal,” Carter said. “Conservation was unable to be contacted and that is the protocol. If attempts are been made to contact conservation and we cannot reach them, we have to act … A decision has to be made. Do the officers want to pull their gun? None of us want to shoot things.”

Carter also noted that various committees of the city council are working with Waynesville City Administrator Bruce Harrill to review the city’s animal control policy, and had been doing so before last week’s incident.

“Like Mr. Harrill said, we’re already looking at our ordinance on animal control, and our policy is number one, we make every attempt to contact conservation,” Carter said.

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