The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the thrill killing of at least eight deer near the top of Spring Creek Road in the foothills of southeast Walla Walla County, Washington.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating the deaths, which they believe occurred late in the day or on the night of Friday, April 10, 2015. The deer were found lying in the fields in the area, shot and left to waste.
Dan Paul, Washington state director for The HSUS, said: “These animals were apparently mowed down for no other reason than perverse entertainment. This is a prime example of the senseless destruction poachers inflict on our wildlife and our community. If it weren’t for the tireless efforts of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, these serious crimes would go unpunished.”
Washington has had its share of high-profile thrill-killing cases in the past, with some involving as many as 15 animals slaughtered at a time. The incidents led WDFW to sponsor a bill, backed by The HSUS, conservation organizations and lawful sportsmen alike, to elevate penalties to a felony for thrill-killing of big game animals. The bill was signed into law and took effect in 2011.
Ryan John, fish and wildlife officer at WDFW, is looking for information from the public to help identify the shooter in this case. “No information is too small. We will look into all tips provided.”
Witnesses are encouraged to report tips by calling toll-free 1-877-933-9847, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or reporting the crime by using the on-line reporting form at http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/violation/. Reports may remain anonymous.
- “Thrill-killing,” also known as “spree-killing,” is a particularly egregious wildlife crime where multiple animals are killed in a single episode. The perpetrators often don’t bother to retrieve their kills, or only recover parts for trophy value or profit.
- Wildlife officials estimate that nationwide, tens of millions of animals are poached annually.
- It is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals come to the attention of law enforcement.
- Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.
- The HSUS and the Trust work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.