Unfortunate news coming out of South Florida as officials are reporting that one of the three Key Deer illegally captured last weekend has been euthanized.
After a pair of young men were pulled over around 12:30 a.m. on July 2nd, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Austin Hopp found two deer hog-tied in the backseat of a Hyundai Sonata and another deer tied up in the trunk.
Two of the deer ran off soon after being released but the third, the buck that was in the trunk, did not escape so fast. After monitoring the animal in the wild this week, it was brought to Marathon Veterinary Hospital as officials from the National Key Deer Refuge noticed it was hobbling around. X-rays revealed the animal had suffered a broken leg in the incident and the decision to put the animal down was made shortly after.
“It’s unfortunate and it had to be done to ease its pain and suffering,” National Key Deer Refuge Manager Dan Clark told the Miami Herald.
“It was not doing well or making any improvements,” Clark said. “We wanted to ease its pain and suffering as much as humanly possible.”
The carcass is now set to be a key piece of evidence in court as the two young men each face 12 charges through the state of Florida which include: Three felony counts of wounding a protected species; three misdemeanor counts for taking deer out of season; three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty; and three misdemeanor FWC charges for illegal possession or taking of deer.
Given that the key deer are Federally protected animals, it is still unclear as to whether or not federal charges are looming surrounding the incident. The two men were released from Stock Island jail on Monday on $57,000 bonds, each. For the state felonies, they could serve up to five years in jail and fines of $5,000.