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April 13, 2010

Reward Offered in Deer Poaching Case in Pennsylvania

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of a deer in Millerstown, Pa.

The Case:

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, on the evening of Jan. 16 neighbors reported finding a fatally wounded deer after hearing gun shots near Ridge Road and seeing a truck leaving the scene. It is illegal to shoot wildlife from a vehicle and to shoot deer at night.

"As the state's wildlife management agency, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has been cracking down on poaching since its creation in 1895. Without funding from state taxpayers, the Game Commission seeks to prosecute poachers who steal from all Pennsylvanians, including law-abiding hunters," said a spokesperson from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

"Clearly the person or persons responsible have a disregard for current wildlife laws and treat wildlife as disposable. This tragic case demonstrates the need for stronger anti-poaching laws, and we urge the Pennsylvania legislature to pass legislation currently under consideration, H.B. 1859 and S.B. 1200, that would help prevent crimes like this one from occurring," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States commends the Pennsylvania Game Commission for their tireless work to find those responsible for this serious crime."

Poaching:

  • Pennsylvania has some of the weakest penalties for poaching in the country. H.B. 1859, legislation currently awaiting action in the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee, would increase penalties for a wide range of wildlife crimes, from killing endangered species to operating commercial poaching operations. It also elevates habitual poaching to a felony and for the first time imposes the possibility of jail time for many wildlife crimes. 
  • S.B. 1200 would allow Pennsylvania to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network aimed at keeping poachers who have lost their hunting privileges in one state from hunting in another. Since its institution in 1989, 33 states, including Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and New York, have joined the Compact.
  • Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.
  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
  • The HSUS works with state wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Southeast Regional Office at 610-926-3136 or Turn in a Poacher (TIP) hotline at 1-888-742-8001. Callers may remain anonymous.

The HSUS works to stop wildlife abuse across the country. Visit humanesociety.org/wildlifeabuse for more information.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

Since 1993 the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, alone or in partnership with other conservation groups, has participated in the protection of more than 1.8 million acres of wildlife habitat in 37 states, including 172 acres in Pennsylvania, and seven foreign countries. On all properties owned by the Trust or protected by the Trust's conservation easement, both here and abroad, we prohibit recreational and commercial hunting and trapping and restrict logging and development. The Trust's commitment to these principles will never change as we continue to assist caring landowners to make their property permanent, safe homes for wildlife. Join our online community at wildlifelandtrust.org.

Follow the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust on Twitter.

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