EXPLOREJEFFERSON: Game Commission Continuing Investigation into Alleged Deer Torture Videos
Posted on Friday, December 6, 2019 by Gant Team in Crime, Local News, Top Stories
BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is still investigating the alleged abuse of a deer by two Brookville teenagers.
“In high-profile cases like this, we almost always have the district attorney involved from the beginning,” Chip Brunst, Information and Education supervisor for the Game Commission’s Northwest Region, told exploreJeffersonpa.com.
“There is no exception here.”
Brunst said Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett has been “most” helpful.
“After we have conducted our meetings and interviews, we will revisit the DA to determine what charges are to be filed and when,” Brunst said.
According to Brunst, part of the delay in filing potential charges may be related to the processing of evidence.
“If evidence needs to be processed, charges may wait until after results are back,” Brunst said.”But, once again, we would rely on the DA for his guidance here.”
One of the alleged abusers in the video is believed to be under 18 and therefore a juvenile.
Brunst, however, said any determination as to whether or not that individual, if charges are brought, would be charged as a juvenile or an adult would be made by Burkett.
“Determination of filing as a juvenile or adult is also (the DA’s) decision,” Brunst said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Game Commission reiterated what Brunst told exploreJeffersonpa.com.
“This matter is still the subject of an active investigation being conducted by our state game wardens in cooperation with county law enforcement officials,” the statement said. “While we understand the desire for a swift response to the conduct displayed in the video, the proper legal steps must be followed in an investigation of this manner.
“We will provide updates when they become available. As always, the Game Commission appreciates the public’s concern for our state’s wildlife.”
Burkett’s office said that it would not comment on an on-going investigation.
“During any point of an investigation, there are no comments out of our office,” a representative from the District Attorney’s Office said. “All I can tell you is it is under investigation.”
Governor Tom Wolf commented on social media that “This egregious abuse of an animal is reprehensible.
Pennsylvania Game Commission and local officials are working together to investigate this incident. We will not tolerate this disturbing behavior in our commonwealth.”
Earlier this week, state Representative Cris Dush, who represents Jefferson County, asked for patience with the investigation in a Facebook post.
“This case is not a Law and Order Special Victims Unit television show that can be wrapped up in an hour, Dush wrote. “It will be investigated properly (the Game Commission is doing everything to ensure there are no loopholes in the work they are doing) and by the law and the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. I will be following the situation.”
Dush expressed concerns about threats made to the alleged actors’ families and others and said those reports have come to the attention of the Pennsylvania State Police.
“If laws have been violated in those cases, law enforcement will have my full support as well,” Dush said. “We live in a nation of laws. Those of us who’ve served in other countries where that is not the case understand the dangers to society of stepping outside those bounds. Most of the people of this nation have no idea how bad it can be if we cross those lines.”
Dush urged people to let the authorities do their job.
“Let those who we’ve hired to take care of things do their job and do what you can to tone down the rhetoric that is going on,” Dush wrote. “This is not a situation to be taken advantage of to further one’s individual status or one’s cause. It is a time to come together to solve problems, not throw threats or stir any additional anger above and beyond what one feels at seeing the video itself. Ask yourself the question; How can I peacefully and lovingly make this situation better?”
See Dush’s full statement here.
The Game Commission opened an investigation last weekend after a video surfaced on Facebook purporting to show the two hunters abusing the injured deer.
The video depicts two young men, reportedly from Brookville, kicking and abusing a deer that had just been shot. The deer was still alive at the time of the recording and was attempting to get away from the hunters.
The Game Commission is asking anyone who has any information related to the video to report it to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001 or to the Game Commission’s Northwest Region Dispatch office at 814-432-3187.
EDITOR’S NOTE #1: Due to the graphic nature of the video, it will not be published on Explore.
EDITOR’S NOTE #2: It is the policy of Explore Your Town, Inc. to not release the names of criminal suspects until they have been officially identified by the proper authorities.