California Man Who Shot Two Deer Eating In His Garden Facing Seven Criminal Charges [Opinion]

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A California man who shot two deer who were munching on his garden is now facing seven criminal charges. What’s more, California authorities appear to have gone to extraordinary lengths to find crimes to charge him with.

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, Mark Dickinson, of Tiburon, just wanted the deer out of his yard. In September, 2017, he got up one morning to see deer munching on plants in the front yard of his beachfront home. Not wanting to see his $40,000 investment get ruined by cervines, Dickinson grabbed his pellet gun and fired off a few shots into the two animals. They sped away.

A neighbor, hearing the ruckus, called the cops.

Dickinson admitted to the police that he’d shot at the deer. And he doesn’t deny that he laughed when the officer told him that there were two injured deer in the road nearby.

“They’ve been eating our yard and I’ve spent $40,000 on my yard and I’ve done everything I can to keep them out of here and they will not leave.”

Now, if this had happened in, say, rural Missouri (where this writer lives), and not an upscale beachfront community outside San Francisco, the matter would have been settled in five minutes. The cop would have fired a few rounds into the animals to put them out of their misery, and then allowed me to take the corpses home and harvest the meat.

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Not so in Marin County. The local humane society was called in order to save the animals. When that failed, they conducted necropsies on both deer, and turned over evidence to the authorities.

What’s more, the county prosecutor hired an outside lab to gather evidence from the animals’ corpses as well.

This week, Dickinson found himself on the receiving end of a seven-count criminal indictment. Two were for animal cruelty, one for each injured deer; three for various poaching-related offenses; and the rest for technical violations of California’s gun laws.

Dickinson has since moved away from Marin County. However, his lawyer, Charles Dresow, suggests that law enforcement in the neighborhood riled up his neighbors against him.

“The flames of community outrage were fanned by the statements of law enforcement, Mr. Dickinson trusts that the actual evidence will prove him innocent of animal cruelty.”

Fortunately for Dickinson, the charges against him are all misdemeanors. That means he won’t have to appear in court in person when he is arraigned June 11.