Indiana DNR abuse of power comes to light
For years, under several administrations, complaints about the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) levying excessive penalties and unlawfully searching and seizing property have not risen too much above rumor or informal complaints, but with last year’s allegations that DNR has operated a police state in Kosciusko County and now a case that has caught the favor of public opinion, the DNR is being questioned for their involvement in a case of no good deed going unpunished.
As the IndyStar reported, Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller and his wife Jennifer took compassion on an injured fawn and, apparently, despite their honesty and candor about the situation, the DNR saw this as an opportunity to make an example out of them.
When Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller first encountered the baby deer, she was curled up in the corner of a front porch.
It was clear the fawn was injured. Counceller could see the wounds on her backside.
With other police calls to answer and nothing he could do for the deer, Counceller called the best person he could think of to help — his wife, Jennifer, a registered nurse and wound caretaker for the couple’s dogs and horses.
Their compassionate act turned out to be a potentially unlawful one (if it is deemed they had illegal possession of a whitetail deer) and it could lead to up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Here at HoosierAccess, we are far from being members of PETA or any “animal liberation” group, and we are definitely far from advocating laws that could make things easier for poachers and those who recklessly harm the outdoors that benefits us all, but as we keep handing more power over to the government, we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions about the proper use of a state agency’s authority.
First, doesn’t the government end up doing more harm than good when they take control to such an extent as this? With less accountability, more power, more ego trips, and concentrated authority, one may reasonably conclude so. Also, if there ever was a case where discretion should have been used to give the alleged law-breakers the benefit of the doubt, doesn’t it seem like the DNR officer and those who over see him or her should have decided not to use so many resources to investigate this or sit on the paperwork for a while? Even the Councellers said they don’t understand why they weren’t just issued a small fine that they could have paid.
We encourage you to read the full story with many more details about the Councellor’s good faith effort and honesty about their role in this, and let us know what you think by posting below or by using the hashtag #DaniDeer on Twitter.