Deer beheading shocks Catalina
- 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 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
(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
FAX: (310) 510-2125), and
(c). cc Avalon's Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, and the City Council:
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
"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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