No other injured baby fawn be inhumanely killed by the PA Game Commission.
No other injured baby fawn be inhumanely killed by the PA Game Commission.
Why this petition matters
This is a very, very long, incredibly long, petition and story. I thank each of you for reading it through. This is Stormy's Story, a horrific story which tells how a PA licensed veterinarian who put Stormy, a (baby) fawn that was in my temporary care in a horrific situation which led to him being shot and killed by PA Game Commission Warden, Matthew Johnson. I promise that no matter if you love animals and aren't a hunter or if you love animals and are a law abiding hunter you WILL find a reason to learn from this story. Learning is the ONLY way to bring CHANGE. I am not a seasoned or even a slightly practiced hunter, but my husband is ... I simply just LOVE my myriad of pets.
Your support has given me strength.
I have a clearer head unclouded by exhaustion and tears....
and am able to give a more chronologically accurate chain of events that led up to the inhumane killing of Stormy.
My letter to the Private Veterinarian Practice who employs the Vet that caused this horrific event:
Hello Vet1 and Vet2,
This is Donna, J......'s mom. Our boys spent pre k, k and 1st and 2nd grades together before you moved to ****** Township. You had briefly helped me for my dog Johnny prior to me finding his amazing specialist soft tissue surgeon at VRC. Johnny was diagnosed with a NST in his right brachial plexus in October of 2016 and successfully survived an additional great year after the amputation of his right leg and shoulder. Vet1, you and Vet3 (who you employ) took care of my horse before he passed away from natural old age causes, and you and Vet3 have served my numerous farm animals and captive deer herd. Additionally, Vet1 and Vet2 both of you and Vet3 (whom you employ) have served so many of my incredible friends and colleagues and local rescue organizations and their domestic pets, farm animals and rescued animals.
I don't know if you are aware of a recent incident which involved the incredibly inhumane and highly unethical situation Vet3 put a wildlife animal in my temporary care in. If you are not completely aware of who I am, the agencies I am licensed through and the 3 year non profit established 501c3 I operated under between 2012 and 2014 to rescue 400 Chester County SPCA (pre BVSPCA became a no-kill shelter) dogs that NO other organization in our area would even consider caring for or would attempt to re-home - my organization did. Mind you that organization consisted only of myself and and a few other amazing moms I know.
In addition to my knowledge and experience with domesticated animals I also hold extensive experience with the white tailed deer species (cervids) , specifically, 10 years of being a certified monitored deer herd farmer with the Department of Agriculture, who is fully licensed and has been in no violations ever. In fact, Vet3 has helped provide medical attention to my five licensed wild (captive) deer, Bella, Angel, Hunter, Clover and Weet Weet.
Most recently, Bella, who passed away in December of this past year 2017. At that visit, my very accredited and licensed vet tech friend and tenant here on my farm, a registered nurse and emergency critical care specialist and anesthesiologist at AMC (Animal Medical Center) the largest and most accredited and oldest Animal Hospital in our country accompanied Vet3 and I in administering fluids to my oldest pet deer Bella who was in need of them prior to her natural passing. By the way, Bella didn't test positive for CWD at New Bolton's testing center.
I am more knowledgeable about captive deer and wild deer in regards to CWD than any licensed PA Game Commissioner that I have come in contact with and Vet3 should have known that since I've been a client. I have ONLY the absolute best of interest in mind when it comes to any domesticated or wildlife animal of the world we live in. So do each and every one of my friends and colleagues who have chosen to use Vet3 or your practice to care for their animals.
I still have a very long story to tell about Stormy, the 4 week old precious spotted fawn, that was in my temporary care who's fate ended with a bullet in his head from our regions' Game Warden Matthew Johnson, because of Vet3's horrific inability to honor the oath she took to become a licensed and accredited USDA veterinarian. I hope for Stormy and all other animals, whether domesticated or wild you will have the patience to read on...
Today is an incredibly sad, disturbing, horrific, hellacious, inhumane and unbelievably unfortunate day for Stormy, a white tailed 4 week old baby deer and for all those who knew and loved him.
Today, Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 my beloved 4 week old, spotted, baby boy fawn named Stormy
WAS INTENTIONALLY SHOT TO DEATH BY THE LOCAL GAME WARDEN.
Local Police placed the this severely injured fawn on a blanket in a neighbors' fenced in back yard and said
“we don't know what to do” and left.
This neighbor heard about me being a Captive Deer Farmer and reached out. I knew I wasn't legally allowed to keep the fawn but didn't hesitate to relieve my neighbors' concern for his safety and due to this sadly horrific situation he was left in by the Local Police.
When I arrived I quickly realized that he was on his death bed. His body temperature was 94*. I knew that a healthy fawn should have a body temperature of 105.5* and that if I didn't intervene he would have died a gruesome death before I could drive him to a Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic and I knew that if I would have just let him be his mother would not have been able to get into the fenced area quickly enoughto save her baby as he certainly needed immediate medical intervention. I rushed him to my home where I quickly, not too quickly though, carefully got his body temperature up to normal. I also intravenously administered 100 cc's of warm fluids into him which I had on hand because I have many domestic pets and captive deer as pets. He perked up quickly and began to drink the raw goat milk I offered him.
Stormy's story is not easy to share, but I know it is the only way to give him the voice he deserves and hopefully his story will help to educate those who care and most importantly, I pray that by sharing his story, together we can demand change in the laws which led to his inhumane killing by PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson.
Before I continue Stormy's Story I am going to share with you a few bullet points regarding the laws governing NON-Captive Wild Deer in the state of Pennsylvania.
Wildlife laws are different in each state.
1. It is illegal to remove or keep a deer from the wild.
2. If you are not a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator or a licensed Veterinarian you should not touch a wild deer unless the wild deer is very clearly injured.
3. If you find a very clearly wild injured deer you are often told nothing by calling your local police or 911 or you are either told to call the PA Game Commissions office in your region or quickly bring it to a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. What you are not told is that if that Wildlife Rehabilitation Center doesn't offer permanent sanctuary to wild deer deemed unreleasable the deer will be killed by an officer of the PA GameCommission.
Today, I learned a very hard lesson. Today, I learned that the PA Game Commission governs and licenses any Wildlife Rehabilitator or Rehabilitation Center or Sanctuary in PA except those governed by the Humane Society or a Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust Sanctuary.
Today, I learned that PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson deemed my Stormy as an “unreleasable deer” meaning he couldn't be safely released back into the wild safely (as in his words, "he was hand tamed because of the time it took for me to rehab him") Mind you, later on in this story I detail him also telling me that despite my 10 years knowledge with my pet white tailed deer, there was absolutely no way you could tame a deer from the wild. What an utter contradiction and one of dozens more to add to his continued lies and deceit he insisted were facts.
Today, PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson told me that there was not a single Wildlife Rehabilitator or Rehabilitation Center or Sanctuary that is not governed by PA Game Commission in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
Today, PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson told me that the PA Game Commission has instructed all Wildlife Rehabilitators or Rehabilitation Centers or Sanctuaries have been instructed by the PA Game Commission to not accept a wild baby or adult deer into their care if it's deemed unreleasable back into the wild. In other words, medical intervention saved Stormy's life but made him unreleasable back into the wild so he deserves to die an inhumane death by gun shot.
Today, I learned that my Farm Animal Veterinarian, an accredited Veterinarian licensed through the USDA, response to me questioning if she called on me, claimed she was only trying to figure out if she could legally offer veterinary care to my Stormy. Thing is, I told her that I couldn't legally keep Stormy at this point and that I was researching how I could or anyone else could obtain a Wildlife Menagerie License or Wildlife Rehabilitation License through the PA Game Commission so I could then apply for a Wildlife Education License so that I could legally keep Stormy since his medical intervention required me to care for him longer than 48 hours. I very clearly told her that if the PA Game Commission found out about Stormy they'd more than likely come out and inhumanely shoot and kill him, that much I had learned in my research at that point.
Everything available to me online indicated that I could obtain this license but I needed more time to do so. My Equine Veterinarian, despite knowing this, reported me and Stormy. I cannot express enough the boundaries I believe she crossed as a Veterinarian who took an oath to humanely protect animals of all kind. Additionally, she was my Captive Deer Veterinarian.
My name is Donna and for 10 years I have raised white tailed deer that I have legally purchased from Captive Deer Farmers throughout Pennsylvania.
You may be wondering how it is legal or even surprised that Captive Deer Farming is a thing. Well it is legal and has become a huge and veryprevalent Farming Industry. Captive Deer Farmers or Captive Deer Breeders are not governed by the PA Wildlife Game Commission, Thank GOD.
They are governed and licensed through the PA Department of Agriculture just as a dog, horse or various other farm animals are. I have held a license with the PA Department of Agriculture since 2008, which monitors my Cervidae (Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae). To me, they are simply my pets just as are my dogs, cats, goats, sheep and horses.
Today, I learned that being a Licensed Captive Deer Farmer with a 100% good standing Certified Herd Monitoring License for the last 10 years with the PA Department of Agriculture doesn't change the laws on the horrific inhumane practices of the PA Game Commission Office governing wild deer due to the PA Game Commission Offices “so called” concerns regarding CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) that is threatening the lives of Pennsylvania's Wild and Captive Deer.
I say "so called" because of this published statistic:
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) tests less than 2% of harvested deer in the state. To put this into numbers, in the 2016-2017 hunting seasons, an estimated 333,254 deer were harvested within our state. Roughly 5,700 of those were tested for CWD, meaning another 327,754 (98.3%) harvested deer were NOT tested for CWD!
So tell me, does this seem like an agency who truly cares about our wild deer?
This is not a light subject, it's a very deep subject with a lot of contradictions. I believe in rescue and rehabilitation, and rehabilitation of wildlife with intent to release back into their natural wildlife after rehabilitation and in offering life long Sanctuary to unreleasable wildlife, like Stormy and the thousands of domesticated animals that are euthanized every day and although I don't personally hunt, but members' of my amazing family and and amazing friends do, the licensed practice of abiding all rules of the legal hunting of wild adult male adult deer. I would like to educate myself more on the hunting of female deer before I judge or form a meaningful opinion of that practice. I am certain that regardless of further education on the subject, I don't believe in harvested or hunted wildlife babies. I don't currently have enough knowledge of the other species of wildlife that are harvested or hunted to form an educated opinion, in my opinion.
My family, friends and colleagues are of all race and religions and have individual opinions or values in their beliefs. I know this. What I also know is that I believe until we, the citizens and agencies of this country can work together, whether your race or religion or beliefs, whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan, a meat eater, or a hunter, a breeder or a rescuer, we will never be able to serve our domestic animals or wildlife animals with the justice they deserve. We took their land from them, every one of us in one way, shape or form yet we can't seem to work together to properlymanage them because of our obnoxious, opinionated selves that often don't attempt to educate ourselves before we derive our opinions, but we call ourselves human beings. Really.... this is what I believe it all boils down to in the end.
Some of my personal thoughts after a solid and continuous 48 hours of agonizing research following the inhumane killing of Stormy...
I was threatened, bullied and forced in front of my 9 year old son, by my regions Game Warden Matthew Johnson, into giving up my civil right to help an injured wild 4 week old fawn deer or give me the time I needed to do the research to find a Humane Society Wildlife Permanent Sanctuary for Stormy.
Game Warden Matthew Johnson repeatedly lied to me when I asked questions. He knew little about the statistics of CWD and the policies that need be followed to control the spread of CWD in our wildlife. He demanded I release Stormy to him and threatened that if I didn't he would arrest me (in front of my 9 year old son may I remind you). He insisted that there was not a single Wildlife Sanctuary in the ENTIRE state of Pennsylvania that would accept a non-releasable fawn. That was a blatant and outright lie. He failed to inform me of the 3 Humane Society Wildlife Land Trusts in this state, NOT governed by the PA Game Commission, two of them close by that could have offered permanent sanctuary to Stormy.
In addition to failing to inform me of the 3 Humane Society Wildlife Land Trusts in this state blatantly lied to me there aren't any wildlife sanctuaries in PA that aren't governed and licensed through the PA Game Commission.
I now know that the area in which the baby fawn was found, the area I live in, is not located in a DMArea ( a disease management area) for the purpose of controlling the spread of CWD in our wildlife. I know that CWD testing will not give a positive result in a fawn of Stormy's age, yet PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson insisted that he had to legally kill him and send him for testing. Fat chance he did.
I say "fat chance he did " because of this published statistic which I'll again share: The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) tests less than 2% of harvested deer in the state. To put this into numbers, in the 2016-2017 hunting seasons, an estimated 333,254 deer were harvested within our state. Roughly 5,700 of those were tested for CWD, meaning another 327,754 (98.3%) harvested deer were NOT tested for CWD!
I want and will continue to fight so that any Officials of the PA Game Commission, who's mission statement and code is to uphold and to preserve, protect and rehabilitate our wildlife, is held accountable when they don't uphold the oath they took.
I took no oath to do my research and continue this fight. It comes naturally to those who really care about the rights of animals worldwide. Yet, Vet1 and 2 employ Vet3, the PA Game Commission employs Matthew Johnson, the local police employ the officer who's name I do not know or I would share it, that did everything wrong from the get go and they along with thousands of corrupt officials that have failed to honor the oath they took to become the licensed officials they are. And the millions of citizens of this country who have failed our pets and our wildlife.
As for Vet3 and her employers, I would ask that she seek penance to right her wrong, her failure to honor the oath that she took to become a USDA Accredited Licensed Veterinarian, by joining me in this fight to demand justice for all animals and to demand that justice need be served to the corrupt officials of the PA Game Commission.
As for Game Warden Matthew Johnson, I already told him that I can only assume that he really needed a larger penis and that he must think he'd somehow get one by shooting baby Stormy. I also told him that I pray he rots in hell. Until then I would ask that PA Game Commission remove him from office.
Thank you for listening to Stormy's Voice through me since he along with every other animal does not have a voice other than ours.
I suppose GOD had a purpose for Stormy because I have never been able to put my concerns or thoughts on paper like this in my 47 years.
Stormy gave me this opportunity. So although I couldn't save Stormy I pray his voice and story will save other animals.
I have hundreds of people to thank in my life, my husband (a hunter), my step girls, my vegan friends and family, my vegetarian friends and family, my meat eating friends and family and most importantly my late parents, Jim and Diane and more importantly than all, my 9 year old son who has the most sincere and kindest heart.
Very interesting and informative links below:
PA State Rep Doyle Heffley
Civil rights attorney You Do Not Have To Speak With The PA Game Commission Officers
PA Game Commission mission statement and values
Whom do we serve? Who is our customer and how do we serve them? This question lies at the heart of our mission statement, i.e., the “current and future generations” for which we manage Pennsylvania’s wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats. Game Commission policy focuses most directly on people who purchase hunting licenses and directly interact with Pennsylvania wildlife. We will continue serving this population effectively as we have in the past; they provide more than 50 percent of the funding used to manage wildlife. But these hunters and trappers represent just 10 percent of the population, and we serve all citizens. We therefore need to more effectively address education and outreach to non-hunting constituencies, which represent 90 percent of the population of Pennsylvania. This includes residents impacted by encroaching wildlife, members of the legislature who receive input from their constituents and set public policy, and individuals who enjoy viewing wildlife. Agency staff now must deal with an ever-changing society. For example, in addition to “wildlife conservation,” our WCOs and other field staff must deal with issues such as methamphetamine labs on State Game Lands, increased expansion of the non-hunting public into rural regions, and an increasing number of citizens who lack an understanding of our appreciation for our wildlife resources.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to protect, propagate, manage and preserve the game or wildlife of this Commonwealth and to enforce, by proper actions or proceedings, the laws of this Commonwealth relating thereto.
. Place wildlife first in all decision-making
. Respect the views of our various stakeholders and citizens of the Commonwealth
. Be open, honest, forthright, and ethical in all matters
. Provide quality service both internally and externally
.Carry out responsibilities in a polite, professional, and considerate manner
. Encourage the professional development of all employees
. Recognize the value of a diverse staff to accomplish the wildlife management mission
. Recognize the value of the North American model of wildlife management
. Have pride in our management heritage
. Reflect on our success and lead for the future
Disqualifiers for Game Warden Jobs as posted on the PGC website:
Indications of a lack of good moral character include any conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and any acts or conduct that reflect a lack of honesty, fairness, respect for others, or respect for state and federal laws.
Stormy's Story should disqualify PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson
CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) and what you should know by
Ben Moyer who is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America: In Pennsylvania, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in these Disease Management Areas (DMAs): DMA 1 on a captive deer farm in Adams County in 2012 (DMA 1 has since been eliminated); DMA 2 in multiple free-ranging deer in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Fulton counties since 2012, as well as captive deer farms in Bedford, Franklin, and Fulton counties; DMA 3 in two captive deer farms in Jefferson County and a free-ranging deer in Clearfield County; DMA 4 in a captive deer at a facility in Lancaster County. In addition, CWD has been detected in wild or captive deer and/or elk in many other states and provinces.
Rules and regulations regarding CWD in Pennsylvania are found in the Game Commission executive order (PDF) and Title 58Opens In A New Window regulations.
Deer diseases: The bad and the worse
By Ben Moyer For the Herald-Standard Aug 25, 2017 0
Deer diseases: The bad and the worse
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), an infection spread by biting insects, has killed a number of deer across Southwestern Pennsylvania in recent weeks. The disease broke out here several times over the past decade. It is important to note that EHD is very different from chronic wasting disease, another fatal deer malady, which, so far, has not been documented in this region.
With the hunting seasons approaching, hunters should be armed with the facts about the various diseases plaguing white-tailed deer.
A Pittsburgh daily newspaper reported this week that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is investigating a disease outbreak that’s killed at least 150 deer in recent days in Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties, and more deaths are expected.
Game Commission officials are quoted in the story as saying they believe the deaths result from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). Tests on the dead deer are not yet final but all signs point to EHD as the cause. The disease is sometimes called “bluetongue.”
Hunters in our area will recall two or more outbreaks of EHD in Fayette and Greene counties several years ago. EHD is caused by the bite of an infected fly-like insect called a midge. The insects feed by biting through the skin of victims and extracting a small amount of blood. The EHD virus is transmitted during the bite. Deer so bitten begin to lose blood and fluids through body openings. Infected deer become emaciated and die within five to 10 days of the bite. Many are known to seek water as the disease progresses.
Although EHD can cause extensive mortality in deer herds, the impact on the population is temporary. The vector midges die off with the first frost and natural reproduction can restore herds because the sickness cannot be spread from deer to deer. Humans cannot contract EHD, although various breeds of livestock can be infected.
It is important for hunters to know that EHD is not the same — is not related in any way — to the far more serious (from an ecological and population standpoint) malady of deer known as chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Chronic wasting disease has so far never been documented in Fayette, Greene, Washington or any county in southwestern Pennsylvania.
However, and unfortunately, the highest known concentration of CWD-infected deer in Pennsylvania is not far away. Several dozen CWD-infected deer have been detected about 60 miles east of Uniontown along the I-99/Rte. 220 corridor in Bedford and Blair counties. In response, the Game Commission established a Disease Management Area around the infection’s center of concentration. The Disease Management Area does extend into eastern Somerset County, but no CWD-positive deer have so far been found in Somerset.
Chronic wasting disease is an always fatal brain condition that can infect all species of deer, elk, moose and caribou. Unlike EHD, there is no insect vector involved. CWD is spread by deer-to-deer contact or by deer contacting the urine, feces or saliva or an infected deer. Consequently, in areas of high deer density, or within captive herds, the potential for spread is heightened.
Game Commission officials have conducted targeted deer removals — by shooting over bait — in limited areas around where CWD-positive deer have been found. More removals are planned. Reducing deer densities where the disease has shown up is the only known way to even retard its spread.
Still poorly understood, CWD results from abnormal proteins called “prions,” which cause the brain tissue to become spongey and riddled with holes. Infected deer can carry the disease for years before they begin to show symptoms, contacting other deer and shedding prions in their droppings and urine. But CWD is always fatal in the end. There is no way to test a deer for CWD while it is alive. To test for CWD, veterinarians and technicians remove parts of the brain from deer killed on roads or by hunters.
As the disease advances, deer become disoriented and confused, may lose their fear of humans and may tremble uncontrollably.
Special rules are in place within Disease Management Areas established to retard the spread of CWD. Hunters who kill a deer within a Disease Management Area may not transport the animal intact beyond the DMA boundaries. The meat may be transported but all “high-risk” parts must be removed. High-risk parts include the brain, spinal cord and other organs.
It is also illegal to use urine-based deer attractants within a Disease Management Area because of the possibility of disease prions being present in bottled urine, or to artificially feed deer because it concentrates the animals and raises the likelihood of CWD transmission. The precise boundaries of Disease Management Areas and their regulations can be viewed on the Game Commission’s website.
There are no such restrictions at present anywhere in Fayette or Greene counties but Game Commission officials discourage artificial deer feeding everywhere in view of CWD’s presence in the state. Officials admit that if the disease continues as it has in some western states, the impact on Pennsylvania’s deer population, and hunting traditions, could be devastating.
Wildlife Management officials have long cautioned hunters about direct contact with high-risk deer parts but cited the lack of any known evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans. Recent research in Canada, however, could cause a reevaluation of that view. Researchers there fed and injected CWD tainted deer meat into macaque monkeys, a species which had been thought to be immune. Most the monkeys introduced to CWD eventually contracted the disease. The research is continuing.
Hunters or any citizen who observes a sickly or oddly behaving deer are asked to call the Game Commission’s Southwest Region Office at 724-238-9523 to report the sighting and its location.
JUL 1, 2018
It is my God given right, and my Constitutional right to try to help an injured animal which is exactly what I did when no other called upon official would. Including the USDA Accredited Licensed Veterinarian who contributed to the brutal and unnecessary killing of a 4 week old buck fawn. The PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson, stole from me those rights.
He had to take an oath to become an official of the PA Game Commission, he didn't uphold a single portion of the oath he took. He bullied me, lied to me, threatened me, failed to give me honest information about the laws he took oath to, failed to give me honest or helpful information after numerous attempts to gain information that could have changed the outcome.
I believe he also baited me, calling me first and telling me he would give me the time to research sanctuaries that could accept this fawn. I asked for an hour to do some research and he said okay that he would do research too. During this phone conversation I also let him know of my extensive knowledge in raising white tailed deer, about the horrific disease CWD threatening the lives of our captive and wild deer. I even informed him of the recent natural death of my oldest pet deer Bella and how her brain was submitted to New Bolton for CWD testing and came back negative. He continued to insist that my captive deer and this wild fawn are completely different, that my captive deer are domesticated and this wild fawn was a wild deer. No I kept reminding him.... there is no such thing as a domesticated deer. It takes years and years of select breeding of generations and generations to officially have an animal be classified as domesticated. My captive deer were born in non-handled captivity as they were born into enclosed farms where sometimes their fate would become being hunting on that enclosed farm. Rather than my pet deer being domesticated, they were simply hand tamed by me. He insisted that NO ONE could ever hand tame this 4 week old fawn that I had in my temporary care. That is complete b*** sh**. He was already tamed. I'd like to mention that he could have gone on to become a wild fawn again though, he was a baby buck and would have quickly adapted back into the wild on one of three unenclosed Humane Society Land Trust Sanctuaries that I now know were available.
The time it took for me to ensure his long term survival rate was longer than 48 hours so the Game Warden insisted that there was no other choice than to kill him and it was his legal duty to have him tested for CWD.
I explained to him that a 4 week old fawn will never test positive for CWD, a fact, and one that he insisted wasn't true. I asked for just an hour to find sanctuary, he showed up on my property within 5 minutes demanding I turn the fawn over to him and that if I didn't he would arrest me and press charges in front of my 9 year old son.
I have contacted New Bolton to see if in fact he submitted this fawn for CWD testing - I can tell you I know for sure he didn't and once I confirm that with New Bolton I will use that and everything else he did wrong to seek the deepest penalties and prosecution of PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson.
I will not stop my fight until justice is served. As for the Veterinarian that initiated this horrific chain of events, I can only hope that the information I submitted to the USDA / NVAP will take action regarding the sheer lack of hononring the oath she took to become a licensed veterinarian.
Update: I want a law be put into place - Stormy's Law
Donna Mastrilli JUL 2, 2018
So much has been going through my mind, so much information to process, and as I go through all of the events that led to this horrific situation I am slowly but surely trying to convey exactly how I think the law should be changed to prevent this in the future....
Below is how I understand the current laws and procedures are....
1. it is unlawful for a citizen to keep a wild deer fawn in their possession.
2. it is lawful for a citizen to help a clearly injured wild fawn or wild animal (emphasis on clearly injured) that citizen must find a wildlife rehabilitation center to bring the animal to
3. any licensed veterinarian may attempt to give a clearly injured wild fawn or wildlife animal medical intervention
4. i can't identify if there is a time frame on how long a licensed veterinarian can keep the injured fawn or animal in their care before they must find a licensed wild life rehab center
5. just because the center is called a wildlife rehab center doesn't always mean they have any jurisdiction over the fate of the injured wildlife as most are governed and licensed by the PA Game Commission and told whether they are allowed to attempt rehabilitation.
6. from all that I can tell after agonizing research is that once anyone notifies the PA Game Commission of an injured wild fawn some wardens will choose to automatically kill that injured fawn
7. I don't know for sure about other wild life and the PA Game Commissions' efforts to see that it gets care or just gets killed also
I am compassionate about wildlife and there seems to be many resources available for an injured or orphaned baby or adult of many other species of wildlife, but surely not readily and easily available for baby or adult deer.
Everything tells you to call the PA Game Commission as if it's our only choice.
I am hoping that through Stormy's story the law will be changed to reflect this:
******** Stormy's Law ********
A wild injured spotted white tailed fawn cannot be shot to death by a PA Game Commissioner or any officer of the law under any exception and must offer the fawn medical intervention by bringing the injured baby fawn to one of dozens of our 24 hour emergency animal hospitals.
If the fawn is not able to be treated it shall be humanely euthanized by the animal hospital.
If the fawn has a successful recovery the animal hospital will then ensure it be transferred to either a Captive Deer Farm (only for a temporary period) that is not in a DMA area, not in any violations and is fully certified and governed by the Dept of Agriculture as long as that Captive Deer Farm can provide housing/fencing/etc... completely separate from their current herd until a permanent sanctuary can be found.
Let me specify the type of Captive Deer Farm:
A captive deer farm that does not breed deer
A captive deer farm that does not allow their captive deer to be hunted.
Only to a captive deer farm that is a hobby farm with the interest of preserving white tailed deer that are tamed and truly unreleasable back into the wild.
Or, the animal hospital can select for the fawn to be sent directly to permanent sanctuary not (emphasis on NOT) governed by the PA Game Commission, rather governed by the United States Humane Society.
From there more laws will need to be put into place to ensure proper monitoring of that specific animal, for the purpose of controlling the spread of CWD, tagging, monitoring and agreeing to the testing of CWD upon the animals natural death, at the Captive Farmer's or Permanent Sanctuary's where it was finally placed cost.
If a citizen comes across a clearly injured fawn they must first call a local veterinarian or 24 hour emergency animal hospital who will then contact the PA Game Commission to instruct them to either allow that citizen to safely transport the injured fawn to the hospital or ensure that the PA Game Commission does.
If a citizen fails to call a local veterinarian or 24 hour emergency animal hospital and keeps the animal illegally they shall face severe penalties.
Any citizen that holds a current certified captive deer farm hobby license with the knowledge and means to offer the injured fawn immediate medical intervention shall be permitted to do so before or while they are contacting their veterinarian or 24 hour emergency animal hospital.
A wild injured spotted white tailed fawn cannot be shot to death by any licensed or unlicensed non-hunting or hunting citizen under any circumstance.
Most importantly, the PA Game Commission should have no authority to shoot and kill an injured baby fawn, not ever.
Unlike the veterinarian in Stormy's case that didn't follow the oath she took, there are many who do. Many more veterinarians follow their oath than do Wardens of the PA Game Commission.
If the PA game commission attempts to use CWD and insist the importance of the continued practice of killing injured fawns and CWD testing them as an excuse to block this type of law then we need to ask this.... If they are truly so concerned then why are these the (once again) current published statistics of CWD testing in PA?
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) tests less than 2% of harvested deer in the state. To put this into numbers, in the 2016-2017 hunting seasons, an estimated 333,254 deer were harvested within our state. Roughly 5,700 of those were tested for CWD, meaning another 327,754 (98.3%) harvested deer were NOT tested for CWD!
Amazing huh.... and the PA game commission is hiking prices of hunting licenses and making hunter's pay for information on how to protect our wildlife but the PA Game Commission themselves aren't protecting our wildlife. The average PA Game Warden's salary is I believe $68,000. (please correct me if this is wrong)
It is my current understanding that even our State Representatives have no authority on how much money the PA Game Commission is permitted to use or ask for for wildlife management. (please correct me if this is wrong)
Another important factor should be weaved as to protocol for an injured fawn that appears rabid.
Any advice, comments, suggestions are so very welcomed and encouraged.
Importance of continuing to educate myself for Stormy.... and all white tailed deer (especially those in PA).
JUL 5, 2018
After further discussions, with the Doc from the PA Dept of Ag who handles my captive deer and several wildlife rehabbers licensed through the PGC, I realize that one aspect of my proposed law would not be of the best interest of preserving wild or captive deer. A fawn being released into the hands of a captive deer farmer would not be a good idea - except maybe in a situation like mine, as I have two separate properties(farms). One where my pet captive deer are and one where I could provide temporary continued care to a wild deer while in search of permanent sanctuary.
This being necessary due to the importance of understanding and gathering statistics for wild and captive deer, comparing which may bemore susceptible to contracting and spreading CWD.
Another important factor about CWD testing statistics:
PA Game Commission vs. PA Dept of Agriculture CWD Testing
*** PA Game Commission tests approximately 2% of harvested deer ***
*** PA Dept of Agriculture tests, at minimum, 50% of captive deer ***
Why, I ask the PA Game Commission, is this acceptable? It isn't is my answer.
Why, I ask the PA Game Commission, are they not testing more harvested wild deer when they have unlimited authority to use PA State funds to perform this test?Because, the PA Game Commission clearly doesn't have the best interest of our PA wildlife deer, is my answer.
PETITION UPDATE Donna Mastrilli JUL 6, 2018
I didn't think this petition could become more important to me than it was originally, but it has and here's why:
Words and advise from dedicated and compassionate PA licensed wildlife rehabbers....
After speaking at length with several of ,what I've been informed are the best or top, wildlife rehabbers in PA I am left feeling even more disgust towards the PA Game Commission and even more dedicated to my petition for change.
Each one of these licensed wildlife rehabbers told me that PA needs more people like me to become a wildlife rehabber and to please seek getting a wildlife rehabbers license of my own.
Each one of them also urged me to NOT GO UP AGAINST THE PA GAME COMMISSION, as no matter how qualified I am to become a wildlife rehabber, the PA Game Commission will NEVER approve licensing me if I go up against them in any way, shape or form.
In their words, "keep my friends close and enemies closer".
So what now? Essentially, if I want to become a wildlife rehabber I have to "be in bed" (figure of speech) with an agency that in my opinion is highly corrupt? This is wrong on sooooo many levels.
So mothers' everywhere and especially mothers', like me, with boys, please remind yourselves the importance of demanding respect from the men you choose to be in your lives, especially the men you choose to be in your sons' lives as if you don't you could potentially be raising a boy to become another likeness of PA Game Warden Matthew Johnson who shot and killed Stormy or much, way much worse.
Mothers' please continue to remind your sons' whether little boys, young men or adult men, that if they disrespect a little girl or young or adult female, you will personally "hold them accountable". I'm pretty sure that mothers' everywhere will agree that most boys and young and old men love their mamas and wouldn't dare go against them.
I know that I tell my 9 year old son on a regular basis that he better never disrespect little girls, and when he's older - young or adult females, or he will be sorry and boy do I mean it.
Link to an article written by an Outdoor Writer, Ron Steffe on October 24th, 2017:
Aiding Pennsylvania Game Commission, Department of Agriculture in fight against CWD is imperative
I recently returned from three days of hunting deer in Tioga County during the junior/senior anterless season.
I hunted Thursday evening, Friday morning and evening, and Saturday morning. On each outing I saw numerous deer, including eight different racked buck, all of which were small. I had many young anterless deer at easy harvest range, but passed on them in the hopes of shooting a bigger doe. That opportunity never materializing.
On Saturday morning, with decent light filling a section of woods with tall scattered hemlocks where I rested comfortably against one of the giant trees, I caught movement to my left on a steep hillside. Two yearlings were easing their way down the sloped ground that held growths of laurel, brush, assorted hardwoods and more hemlocks.
They slowly headed in my direction until they were a mere 10 yards from where I sat. There, one of them looked directly at me. It began an up-and-down head motion attempting to determine if I was friend or foe, or maybe food, or even a new type of forest growth it had never seen before.
Obviously unable to ascertain exactly what I was, it spun around, took two hops, and looked at me once again. A few seconds later it snorted some air through its young nose, half-heartedly raised its tail and took three more hops in a different direction, then slowly began to walk away. Its startled sibling – at least I assume it was a brother or sister – not knowing what caused the other to reverse course, inverted course also. If mom was around, she never showed herself as I watched the two youngsters slowly move out of sight.
It was one of those moments, usually short in duration, when we as hunters are able to watch wild whitetails up close in all their grace.
A minute or so after that pair moved from sight, I thought of how important deer are to the outdoor world, and more specifically, to the world of hunters.
It’s completely bizarre that I cannot recall ever considering beforehand just how vital white-tailed deer are to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the hunting population they oversee, but at that moment I realized that without deer, the agency would be a miniature institute compared to how it exists today.
That in turn led me to thinking about the present threat of chronic wasting disease and the brutal reality of losing both deer and elk across the landscape of our state, and the complex challenge facing the Game Commission in its efforts to control and possibly end this menace.
I was privileged a short time back to be part of a small group of outdoor writers invited to educational seminars, plus question-and-answer sessions, hosted by the commission and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture outlining their current knowledge of, and their structured fight against, CWD.
These were smart and well-educated people leading these discussions, and trust me when I say, they fully understand the magnitude of CWD and the harm it could possibly unleash across not only Pennsylvania, but also all of North and South America if given enough time to spread.
Nor are they sitting idle, just talking, without undertaking physical efforts to combat CWD. Already practices are in place, initiated by the Department of Agriculture, to change fencing and feeding systems in deer farms (the original source of CWD in Pennsylvania) that will lessen possible contact with wild deer. Five-line fencing has been installed for its efficiency to stop deer and elk from moving into contaminated areas. Testing procedures are being studied for both soil and cervid species (deer and elk in our state) that could help quicken results of locating sickened animals.
The Game Commission has increased places where hunters can have their deer checked for CWD, and the agency has created specific zones where CWD has been found in deer. It is also determining how other states have approached this problem and the results of their efforts, overall being cautious not to rush to any conclusions about what will work best.
Like everything else, this problem, if it can be overcome, will take much in the form of resources, and certainly money – most likely lots of money.
It would be wise for hunters and anyone else with a valid concern for our wild deer and elk populations within Pennsylvania to offer support to the commission and Department of Agriculture, and follow through with all recommendations and personal efforts they ask of individuals to help in this battle.
It is not the time, nor does it serve any purpose, to criticize these people in their efforts, because in essence, helping them is helping us. If you enjoy deer and deer hunting, you have no other choice.
Well, I disagree with this writer for two reasons that I can elaborate on:
The PA Game Commission's efforts (in my opinion, "lack there of") to control CWD and his ridiculous claim that "deer farms are the original source of CWD in Pennsylvania".
So, instead of stewing, I commented on his article in a private email to him. Here's what I emailed to him, pretty much verbatim:
I wholeheartedly love deer as I have 5 white tailed deer as pets ( now 4 ) licensed through the Dept of Ag and my awesome husband who grew up and still adores hunting to this 58th year of his life, has 4 nice bucks on our living room walls.
I, myself, am not personally a hunter, but I do support and understand the need for the legal practices of hunting. I should add, I do have boundaries on what "type" of hunters' I support. As long as it's law abiding, as long as it's not to just kill a fawn (baby) or a pregnant doe or big racked buck for sheer fun, I respect each of our rights.
I recently found myself in a situation with a PA Game Warden that really sparked my interest in trying my best to understand or believe if he and the agency he represents really do care about deer and horrific disease CWD that threatens them. I quickly realized, he didn't.
Not only did he blatantly lie to me (I know this, because I know more than him), he couldn't answer any question I had about CWD and it's statistics.
I realize that it is unlawful for a citizen without a Wildlife Rehabbers' License to keep a wild fawn or deer. However, I was left in a situation where, in attempt to preserve our PA deer population, I had to intervene with medical attention, that no other government or licensed official, would do at the time.
I am not ignorant to CWD or the devastating affects it could have on a species, that I consider to be the most beautiful, gracious and one of the most important species of our states' wildlife.
I respect the stance from which you have written your story, except that of CWD and your claim that it's first state case came from a captive deer herd. It may very well have been from a captive deer herd, BUT there is absolutely no way to even stand by any statistic that you choose to use as a sample, as there has been NO ratio of testing adhered to by the PA game Commission, given these statistics as reported and published: The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) tests less than 2% of harvested deer in the state. To put this into numbers, in the 2016-2017 hunting seasons, an estimated 333,254 deer were harvested within our state. Roughly 5,700 of those were tested for CWD, meaning another 327,754 (98.3%) harvested deer were NOT tested for CWD!
And this PA Dept of Ag CWD testing percentage, that I know is not false, as a captive deer owner (of 5, now 4 pet deer) myself, who has to agree to and in order to continue my 100% not in violation licensing as a Certified Monitored Cervid Herd License, the voluntary testing of any one of my captive deer (who have names I will repeat, are Bella, Angel, Hunter, Clover and Weet Weet. Bella passed of natural causes on 12/17/2017 and after submission of her body, "brain" specifically to University of PA, New Bolton, large animal hospital, at my expense, her necropsy report showed NO signs of CWD.
Another factor: PA Game Commission vs. PA Dept of Agriculture CWD Testing
PA Game Commission tests approximately 2% of harvested deer (as per published statistics)
PA Dept of Agriculture tests, at minimum, 50% of captive deer.
Why, I ask the PA Game Commission, is this acceptable? It isn't, is my answer.
Why, I ask the PA Game Commission, are they not testing more harvested hunted or road kill deer when they have unlimited authority to charge hunters whatever they so choose and to use unlimited PA funding to perform this test?
Because, the PA Game Commission clearly doesn't have the best interest of our PA wildlife deer or it's lawfully hunting citizens, is my answer.
As a professional and clearly educated writer, I am surprised that you would make such a blanket statement of "deer farms" and claim they are, "the original source of CWD in Pennsylvania".
Without googling it, I would ask you to answer honestly, do you know what year, what specific species and in what exact region or area of this country did CWD first be detected? Also, who detected it, by what means and by what conclusive testing?
If you cannot answer this, quickly I'd like to add, you really shouldn't be placing or expressing your idea of accurate information in parenthesis. Such words will not leave an educated or inquisitive reader the opportunity to learn what you intend her/him to learn.
Isn't that the most important part of educating your cause? Educating for the survival of an amazing species that we may not be able to enjoy can cause people to improperly educate other people and can result in horrific and demising end of this beautiful species.
This is a huge and contradicting subject, and those that truly care for the overall well being of the species it self, will not benefit from the information you have given, in my opinion. The potential listeners, or youth student's who want to be in the "know
(so to speak), will not gain factual information from your article. If you're true and ultimate concern is not for yourself, rather for that of a species we can not afford to lose you should reconsider your stance. Just saying, we should all encourage people to educate themselves on facts, not opinions, and to open their minds to educate themselves before forming a "give a damn" position.
Another Interesting Article: Pennsylvania set to have its first game wardens
DEC 31, 2017 WALT YOUNG - Altoona Mirror
Starting Monday, the law-enforcement officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will be officially called “state game wardens.”
I suppose many folks are thinking to themselves, “Weren’t they always called game wardens?” Actually, no. The wildlife law-enforcement personnel in many states are called “game wardens, but never in Pennsylvania. Since the Pennsylvania Game Commission was established in 1895 and until the mid-1980s, its law-enforcement officers were known as “district game protectors.” In 1987, their job title was changed to “wildlife conservation officer.”
So why bother with changing the title yet again? According to Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans, “The word ‘warden’ is America’s oldest title for the men and women who serve wildlife in this capacity.”
As a writer, I’ve been getting paid to string words together for about 30 years and have even been told a few times that I am pretty good at it. I always thought that “wildlife conservation officer” was an apt job title for our Game Commission law-enforcement personnel here in the 21st century.
The term “warden” is not just old, it strikes me as being hopelessly antiquated and a giant step backward. Incidentally and ironically, the first law-enforcement officers for Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in the 1870s were known as “fish wardens.” That title was changed to “waterways patrolman” in 1968, and then to “waterways conservation officer” in 1984.
I suspect the real reason for this bit of formal nonsense from the ivory towers of Elmerton Avenue is for some of higher management to justify their salary and benefits packages that cost us hunters well into six figures. What a great way to start the new year. Cook up an obsolete title for the guys in the field who actually do most of the work. It’s not like we have something as insidious as chronic wasting disease threatening our wild deer or West Nile virus wiping out our remaining ruffed grouse populations. Just another day at the office, I suppose.
Fly-tying classes scheduled two new Orvis fly rods and reels found their way into my tackle closet over the Christmas season, and needless to say I am enthused about trying out those sweet outfits. The recent bout freezing weather has put those plans well on hold, of course, so I will have to amuse myself with other pastimes until the weather becomes more hospitable to outdoor activities that involve getting your hands wet.
One of my favorite winter diversions is tying flies. Somehow, tying flies during the winter when the weather is too brutal to be on the stream seems especially satisfying. And this year, I have a bunch of new fly patterns and ideas that I want to get done in time for the primetime of spring fly-fishing. Along with those, I also will need to restock my fly boxes with all the tried-and-true patterns that were depleted last season. It will all be a labor of love, however, as nothing so compliments a passion for fly-fishing as tying one’s own flies.
For anyone interested in learning the wonderful craft of fly tying, the John Kennedy Chapter of Trout Unlimited will once again be offering its regular series of free beginner fly-tying classes this winter. The course will consist of eight sessions beginning on Saturday, January 13 and continuing every Saturday through March 3. Classes will be held from 8:30 until noon at the United Way Family Resource Center located in the Eldorado Plaza at 5414 6th Avenue, Altoona. The chapter will supply all the necessary tools and materials for the classroom instruction. Class size for the course is limited, so register as soon as possible to ensure your seat in the class. For more information or to register, contact Dan Beck at 942-6971 or email@example.com; or Jerry Green at 934-7046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was one of the instructors when this local Trout Unlimited group held its first fly-tying classes about 40 years ago, and it’s great to see they continue that worthwhile tradition. When I started tying flies in 1964, finding any kind of meaningful instruction was rare. There were a few books and the occasional magazine article about tying flies, but getting any personal teaching or advice from an experienced tier was rare back then, especially for a twelve-year-old boy. I remember approaching a fellow who was supposed to be an accomplished tier for advice, but he merely smirked and proved evasive.
Nowadays, there is almost too much information out there for the novice tier, from books and videos to the Internet and in-person classes like our local Trout Unlimited event. Even better is the availability of first-rate tying materials, both natural and synthetic. When I started, just finding suitable feathers, fur, hair and hooks was a continual chore on my limited teenage budget. I hate to keep sounding like such an old time about it, but since this spring will begin my fifty-fourth year of fly tying, I guess I am. But take it from this veteran fly tier, there never has been a better time to learn to ties flies.
My final thoughts, for now anyways...
Now I understand...
why my completely anal husband (who's not my legal husband) tells our son to drive his four-wheeler into our planted crops of field corn, soy beans and buckwheat and beep his horn to scare the bucks away deer from eating them so there's more for the does and their babies, because his number one goal is to serve our PA wildlife that many of the PA Game Commission's Agency Officials could give two sh*** about.
my husband who is not my legal husband is an incredible person.
I understand that my "not husband" believed in my determination enough, that he vowed himself to me despite my determination to ensure that by not legally marrying him I would never have to easily give into him or the "system" in a fight as to where a baby boy belongs, with his Mother!
As our boy ages and becomes a young man I cannot wait for the day that I marry my " not husband" Jim. If not for him, I wouldn't have my precious and his precious baby boy who at this moment is yelling at me to get off of the computer! LOL!
So incredibly thankful to each and every one of you who have read this to the end.
Please don't forget why you chose to do so from the beginning... Stormy, who I have to thank for making my life better.
Love you, way MORE than you could ever imagine, you perfect and amazing baby buck Stormy!