Resident urges city to adopt animal dispatch policy

Forest Lake resident Jeff Carpenter at a July 11 city council work session presented an animal dispatch policy for review. His full prepared statement follows.

“Good evening.

My wife and I are here tonight to propose an animal dispatch policy to the city of Forest Lake.

On Jan. 14, approximately six months ago, on a quiet Saturday morning, one-half hour prior to sunrise, a police officer entered our yard without warning and commenced firing a sawed-off, 12-gauge shotgun and slaughtered two innocent fawns.

One of these fawns was shot in our front yard, and one was shot just outside our bedroom window in our backyard.

The shocking blast and the bloodbaths that ensued that morning will forever change our lives. These dangerous actions were taken by a Forest Lake cop using poor judgement which could have ended in a loss of human life to himself, or even worse, to us. Unfortunately this debacle and careless actions were never disciplined as Forest Lake currently does not have a deer dispatch policy.

The investigation was handed over to Washington County Sheriff’s Department. Even though the investigation proved officer Brent DeGroot was three times closer to our home than the distances he filed in his report, the results were never released to the public as it was an internal investigation.

We’re extremely frustrated with the Forest Lake Police Department, their stand on no wrong-doing, nor have we had any apologies ever been offered from the department, the city or the officer in the shooting.

We’ve been approached by pro-bono attorneys along with PETA to file a lawsuit against the city but we choose not to at this time. Instead we’d like to take the high road and be proactive in trying to improve the situation. We have drafted a simple animal dispatch policy to protect our Forest Lake citizens from a disaster like this ever happening again.

We truly are thankful that Jackie [McNamara] and Mike [Freer] are council members who are not easily persuaded by others to do business as usual. They’re willing to work hard on our behalf and the taxpayers and realize there is a need to change the current protocol.

To this day, we are asked by people all over the country: ‘What has ever become of those deer killings?’ We answer them by saying, ‘We are trying to work it out with the city so this won’t happen again.’ Wouldn’t it be refreshing to be able to say ‘The city of Forest Lake has learned from it’s past. They’ve listened to the citizens and choose to be a leader by approving an animal dispatch policy for other cities to follow’? We are optimistic the city council will unite to protect and serve its citizens by adopting this or similar policy.

We want to thank the 90 percent of the public that have supported us from the very start as we look forward to a positive result. Thank you for your serious consideration [of] adopting this policy.”