Charges filed in case of abused deer in Pa.
The state Game Commission filed charges last week against two Brookville teenagers who recorded videos of themselves holding down and repeatedly kicking an immobile white-tailed deer.
Alexander Brock Smith, 18, and a 17-year-old male who was not identified both were charged.
Each faces two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty and two felony counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated animal cruelty, as well as several other misdemeanor and summary counts.
The Nov. 30 incident for which Smith and his alleged accomplice were charged has been seen by thousands of people worldwide who viewed the videos.
The commission became aware of the incident soon after the videos were posted on Facebook, when one viewer shared a video to the commission’s page. The agency immediately launched an investigation.
Each defendant was interviewed as part of the investigation and confirmed they were hunting together Nov. 30 in an enclosed tree stand on property Smith’s family owns in Beaver Township, in Jefferson County.
The juvenile shot and wounded a buck, then missed with a follow-up shot.
The deer was immobilized, the video was taken, then shared through the messaging app Snapchat.
One recipient of the video saved it to his phone and contacted the commision, and his phone, as well as the defendants’ phones, were seized for forensic analysis.
Smith was arraigned on charges and was released on $50,000 unsecured bail. Paperwork containing the juvenile’s charges also was filed.
Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said the filing of charges brings to an end a thorough investigation about an incident that has drawn much attention and public outrage.
Burhans said posts about the incident on the agency’s Facebook page have made clear the contempt hunters hold for the actions depicted on the video.
“Hunters care deeply about wildlife,” Burhans said. “It’s through their decades of dedication to the outdoors that we enjoy healthy and sustainable populations of wild birds and mammals, and that those wildlife species that encounter trouble are identified and afforded additional protection.
“Hunters are taught at an early age to hunt ethically, to be respectful of the game they hunt, the property upon which they hunt and other hunters,” Burhans said. “The Game Commission’s Hunter-Trapper Education program emphasizes these longstanding principles to new hunters.”