BY MELANIE BUCK –
On September 28th, Wildlife Rehabilitator Tommy Young was crushed when he arrived at the Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center to find a 4-year old whitetail buck, that he has raised and rehabilitated since it was a juvenile, slaughtered in its pen.
Young said the buck had been shot with three arrows and left lying in the pen. “I have had the deer since it was brought here after being hit by a car. He was young and I had to wire his jaw shut. One side was so shattered that he lost his jaw on that side and his tongue always hung out. He was non-releasable,” Young explained.
Although it’s not a new problem, it still delivers a blow when it happens. “In the past, the deer in Janssen Park, when there used to be a pen there, big deer were killed. It happens all over. I’ve never understood it.”
Not only did the perpetrators kill the deer, they also robbed the zoo’s museum that houses supplies, memorabilia, and smaller animals. “They took taxidermy, deer antlers, fishing poles, tools, pictures off the wall; they had to have spent hours in there to get as much stuff as they did,” said Young. Some of the antique taxidermy that was taken included: deer mounts, minks, weasels, otters, and squirrels.
The investigation into who committed the crimes is ongoing. Arkansas Game and Fish are investigating the poaching of the deer and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the robbery of the museum.
Tommy Young and his supporters are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. If you have any information, contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Department at 479-394-2511 or Tommy Young at 479-243-0976.