Residents of a Ohio community said this week that children in the neighborhood were devastated after they witnessed an officer shoot a deer that had become so friendly that it regularly ate out of people’s hands.
In photos and video obtained by WTRF, the deer a can be seen playing with people in the Clarington community. Residents said that an Ohio Department of Natural Resources wildlife officer who was stalking the deer asked parents to bring children inside on Monday so he could shoot it.
However, residents who wanted to see the deer relocated refused, and the officer eventually gave up on that day.
But on Wednesday, Shannon Lee told WTRF that the officer returned and shot the deer as both of her daughters watched.
“I petted it, and I would feed it,” daughter Olivia Lee recalled. “And I would play with it some more, and it was my best friend.”
Shannon Lee said that the officer followed the deer through people’s yards for 20 to 30 minutes before shooting it.
“They saw us sitting on the porch,” she explained. “They didn’t say, ‘Would you please take your kids inside? You know, this is what’s going to happen.’ No warning at all until we heard the gunshot.”
In a statement, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources argued that “wild animals are unpredictable by nature and are capable of becoming aggressive and dangerous at any time. It is in the best interest of humans that wild animals remain in the wild.”
According to WTRF, officers became interested in killing the deer after a resident reported that it was eating from their garden.
Watch the video below from WTRF, broadcast Aug. 14, 2014.