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Deer beheading shocks Catalina

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  • Pat Scala
    PLEASE CROSS POST PLEASE CONTACT the Los Angeles County District Attorney s Office, about the below case, in which an Avalon, CA city employee allegedly
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2007

      PLEASE CONTACT the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, about the
      below case, in which an Avalon, CA city employee allegedly beheaded a deer.
      Urge them to levy all possible charges against Leonard Lopez, and to seek
      maximum penalties: maximum jail time and fine, mandatory psychological
      counseling and a prohibition against ever harboring or working with animals.
      As this is a heinous violent crime, a diversionary program must NOT be
      considered. He must be prosecuted.

      Also contact Leonard Lopez' place of employment and demand that he be
      immediately suspended, without pay or benefits, pending the results of his
      trial. If he is found guilty, he must be fired. Anyone who could commit such
      a vile crime against a defenseless animal poses a danger to the public, too.


      (1). District Attorney's Office

      County of Los Angeles

      210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000

      Los Angeles , CA 90012-3210

      Fax (213) 974-1484

      <mailto:webmail@...> webmail@...

      (2). Avalon Public Works

      Pastor Lopez , Director of Public Works,

      P.O. Box 707

      Avalon , CA 90704

      (310) 510-0220 x128

      Fax: (310) 510-0901

      cc City Manager, Pete Woolson <mailto:petewoolson@...>

      And, as noted in the article, the California Division of Fish and Game
      introduced mule deer to Catalina Island in the 1930s, to provide more
      victims for hunters. The Catalina Island Conservancy, manages Catalina
      Island 's wilderness areas, and administers the annual deer slaughter, on
      behalf of the Division of Fish and Game, which sets the kill quotas. The
      Conservancy no doubt intentionally mismanages the deer for overpopulation.

      Urge the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the Avalon City
      Attorney to hold the state wildlife authorities and The Catalina Island
      Conservancy responsible for all public complaints and problems blamed on the
      deer, as they are the entities responsible for the introduction and
      overpopulation of deer.

      Needless to say, they will not do anything about this, but let's get this
      info out into the minds of the public (include this in letters to the
      editor-see contact info, with the article, below) and public officials.

      Avalon is the only incorporated city on Catalina Island .

      (a). Los Angeles County District Attorney (see above)

      (b). Avalon City Attorney, Pamela Albers

      <mailto:pamalbers@...> pamalbers@...

      FAX: (310) 510-2125), and

      (c). cc Avalon's Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, and the City Council:

      <mailto:doconnor@...> doconnor@...;
      <mailto:scubaluv@...> scubaluv@...;
      winslow@...; <mailto:scottnelsoncitycouncil@...>
      scottnelsoncitycouncil@...; <mailto:deponce74@...>


      Submit letters to: <mailto:letters@...> letters@...


      Deer beheading shocks Catalina

      Wildlife officials investigate the incident, allegedly by an Avalon city

      By Louis Sahagun

      Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      October 13, 2007

      State wildlife officials on Friday said they were investigating the
      beheading of a deer, allegedly by an Avalon city employee who dressed the
      carcass and then left the head dangling in a soccer net near a preschool and
      City Hall.

      "We are investigating this case to the fullest," said California Department
      of Fish and Game Lt. Kent Smirl. "We're hoping to file with the Los Angeles
      County district attorney next week."

      Smirl said charges could include illegal taking of a game animal and animal
      cruelty. "You can use a bullet or an arrow to take a deer," Smirl said, "but
      you cannot use a knife."

      City maintenance supervisor Leonard Lopez, identified by law enforcement
      authorities as a suspect, has been allowed to remain on the job pending the
      results of the investigation. Lopez was unavailable for comment Friday.

      The incident has unleashed a contentious debate in this otherwise close-knit
      harbor community of about 3,500 permanent residents about 22 miles off the
      mainland. Some residents are outraged.

      "This is supposed to be a friendly island," said Avalon resident Cheryl
      Castillo. "You can't just go around cutting deer's heads off. We don't want
      people to think we're barbarians."

      Dianne Stone, co-owner of the Coney Island West fast-food restaurant in
      Avalon, agreed. "It's heart rending to see these deer coming into town all
      skin and bones and starving," she said. "But what happened to that deer was
      wrong on many levels."

      But even some of the outraged are pointing fingers at state wildlife
      authorities, saying they failed to manage the island's exploding population
      of mule deer, which now number in excess of 3,000. Prolonged drought
      conditions, combined with the devastation of foraging grounds by recent
      fires, have forced hundreds of deer to seek sustenance in Avalon. Reports of
      deer feasting on home gardens, attacking pet dogs and colliding with golf
      carts have soared in recent weeks.

      Avalon Mayor Bob Kennedy, who runs a local scuba equipment business,
      declined to comment on Lopez. But he had plenty to say about the hordes of
      deer. "They are property of the state and ought to be better managed," he
      said. "In the meantime, deer are being eviscerated on fence posts, tangled
      up in lawn chairs, attacking pets and eating people's gardens."

      Mule deer were introduced to the island in the early 1930s with a goal of
      increasing wildlife and as a hunting resource. Fewer than two decades later,
      there were 2,000 of them. The Catalina Island Conservancy, which manages the
      island's vast wilderness areas, administers annual deer hunts on behalf of
      state wildlife authorities who set the quotas of animals to be harvested.

      This year's deer hunting season runs from Sept. 4 through Dec. 24. But
      tempers have flared between resource managers and hunters. In 2000, the
      conservancy employee in charge of the hunting operation quit after finding
      his tires had been slashed.

      In the past week, conservancy authorities said they have discovered two
      additional decapitated deer in the interior of the island. It is not
      believed those cases were related to the one in Avalon.

      The current controversy erupted about two weeks ago after local residents
      out for a morning stroll with their pets reported a doe entangled in a pile
      of soccer equipment and the soccer net at the city's Field of Dreams
      baseball field, only several yards away from City Hall and the Avalon Fire

      The Fire Department responded by sending law enforcement authorities to the
      scene to tranquilize the animal. But before they arrived, it had been

      Avalon resident Jon Council described what he saw in a letter to a local
      newspaper: "As I got closer I was treated to a view that was quite
      appalling," he wrote. "The separated head of the animal hanging in the
      netting, blood splattered in at least a 5-foot radius in all directions. . .
      which told me immediately that the deer had thrashed about with a severed
      neck before dying. . ."

      "There is a question of whether there was poor judgment used here in terms
      of its impact on people," Avalon City Atty. Pam Albers said Friday. "But
      it's also an example of the difficulty we're all facing with the deer."

      Last Friday night, for example, Jane Bartlett, a bartender at the Cottage
      Restaurant, watched 11 deer in a single-file line wander onto the beach at
      Avalon Harbor and then munch on vegetables tossed their way by well-wishers.

      But Avalon resident Angela Teckinah had a different take on the animals.
      Seated in a golf cart beside a little white dog named Boomer, she said, "A
      doe with a lot of fauns ran up to little Boomer and tousled him like a rag
      doll. Boomer couldn't move for days."


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