A young man in Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges stemming from a “reprehensible” video of him and another teen torturing a wounded deer during a hunting trip in November.
The teens, who were 18 and 16 at the time, had recorded themselves abusing the deer, later sharing the footage to social media. In the video, one of the young men was seen kicking the injured deer in the face, while the other stood on one of its hind legs, presumably to keep it from attempting to kick or flee. The two teenagers, who laughed while abusing the deer, then attempted to grab the deer’s horns before the footage cut out. (Warning: This link contains footage of a disturbing nature.)
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Concerned viewers soon brought the video to the attention of the state’s Game Commission, who deemed the teens’ actions “reprehensible.” During a subsequent investigation, the police chief of Brookville, where the video was shot, identified the 18-year-old as his stepson Alexander Smith, WJAC reported.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission ultimately filed felony charges, including two counts of aggravated animal cruelty, two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated animal cruelty, and other misdemeanor and summary charges, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“As Pennsylvania’s state wildlife agency, we have said from the beginning that the actions shown in the video are reprehensible,” the state’s Game Commission said shortly after the footage surfaced last year.
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Felony charges were ultimately dropped after Smith had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cruelty charges, as well four other summary offenses, last week.
Smith was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, $2,150 in fines, and two years of probation, during which time he must make himself available to speak at hunting safety courses and for youth groups. His hunting license was also revoked until 2035, the Post-Gazette reported.
Court records regarding the younger of the two teens, who is currently 17, were not made public.
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A representative for the Pennsylvania Game Commission was not immediately available to offer comment on Smith’s sentencing for Fox News. The commission had previously told WJAC that “charges remain” against the 17-year-old.
“The Pennsylvania Game Commission is aware that a plea agreement has been reached with one of the defendants in the case involving two individuals from Jefferson County and a white-tailed deer,” said a representative for the commission. “One of the defendants recently pleaded guilty to several charges, including a second-degree misdemeanor of cruelty to animals and several game-law violations.
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“However, the charges remain against the second defendant and we will not be commenting any further on the matter until both aspects of the prosecution have been resolved. We appreciate the public’s understanding of the judicial process and the work of the Jefferson County District Attorney in this case.”