An unfortunate situation has taken place in Lawrence Twsp. as an officer with Van Buren County has been let go after killing what seemed to be a locally well-loved domesticated deer in front of a small family. The officer has since been placed on administrative leave while there is an ongoing investigation, in which Police Chief Redlegs of the Pokagon Band Tribal Police is assisting.

On a Facebook page dedicated to getting justice for the fawn, Justice For Annie, Trisha Shabala explained the situation in great detail, which was reported by Wilcox Newspapers:

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On Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, a Pokagon Tribal Police Conservation officer accompanied Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office to serve a warrant to a person living on the farm property. Annie happened to be there. This officer, without properly investigating, caught Annie with a loop rod and shot her at very close range with his handgun while the family (including children) stood by watching and pleading with him not to hurt her to any avail. There was no attempt to “conserve” her life by finding a sanctuary rescue or relocate her. The only reason he gave for his actions is she was too domesticated and a “pet” and must be euthanized. Well, he murdered her.

I understand that it's illegal to domesticate a wild animal for safety concerns, but executing it in front of children is insane to me. Also, members of the community have said time and time again that Annie was never housed, fenced in, confined to one place & kept as a "pet". I personally don't believe there was any reason her murder needed to be rushed or performed in front of people begging for mercy.

According to Lawrence Township Supervisor Donna Spenner, the officer who was involved has been identified as David Loza and is no longer deputized in Van Buren County.

There is a similar post in the group about a similar incident where an officer in Kalamazoo killed a deer with multiple shots. As one member mentioned, maybe we should be asking, "What is the standard DNR protocol in this situation?"

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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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