Over the weekend a video that showed two men assaulting an injured deer went viral on Facebook. The Pennsylvania Game Commission said it knows who the suspects are but was unable to release any information about the incident because the investigation is on-going.
The video shows two men walking up to an injured deer that was lying by a tree. One of the men kicked the animal in the face. At another point, one man held the deer by the antlers while the other man stepped on its neck. Later, the man holding the antlers kicked the deer in the face. The men could be heard laughing while assaulting the animal.
When the Game Commission became aware of the video, it took to Facebook, letting the public know that it had seen what happened and saying that the men’s actions may be a criminal offense. The Game Commission also stated that, what while it is aware of what transpired, it does not know where the incident took place, which will determine under what jurisdiction the offense falls.
The Game Commission also asked the public to reach out to its office to provide any information it might have about the incident. So far, it has received numerous tips from individuals.
Federal Animal Cruelty Law
The video was released just days after a law was signed that makes animal cruelty a federal offense. The initiative known as the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) prohibits intentionally causing serious harm to animals. A conviction carries with it up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine.
Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Law
Pennsylvania also has a statute in the books that makes it illegal to harm animals.
The law states that a person engages in criminal behavior when they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly do any of the following to an animal:
- Mistreat it
- Overload it
- Beat it
- Abandon it
- Abuse it
Generally, animal cruelty is a summary offense; however, in specific circumstances, the charge can be elevated.
Assaulting an animal becomes a second-degree misdemeanor when the conduct:
- Causes bodily injury to the animal, or
- Places the animal at risk of serious bodily injury
A conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor carries with it up to 2 years imprisonment.
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