A Las Cruces man who let his dog kill a fawn in southern Colorado, then posted photos and video of the incident on social media, drawing outrage, has been charged with several crimes.
“This is a disturbing case,” Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said in a Monday news release. “We’ve heard from many members of the public wanting CPW to investigate.”
Michael Garcia, 36, is charged with illegal possession of wildlife, allowing his dog to harass wildlife and unlawful taking of wildlife, the agency said.
According to the CPW officer’s report, after the killing Garcia posted photos of the dog and the dead animal on social media, which was reported to Operation Game Thief, prompting an investigation.
Screenshots of Garcia’s posts were shared by multiple media outlets and other social media users on multiple platforms.
One of the photos posted to Facebook, which has since been taken down, showed the baby deer skinned and displayed next to Garcia’s dog, Gus. In the post, referred to the deer as Gus’ “first big game kill.”
He posted an apology on Facebook on July 22, which has also been deleted.
“People make mistakes,” Garcia wrote, “it was a freak accident.”
He was found working as a fishing guide on the river on July 23 by a district wildlife officer, who interviewed him and issued a citation.
Garcia faces fines for the charges totaling more than $1,300, which he can pay or dispute in court, and will also be issued 20 license-suspension points. He will have to appear before a suspension hearing officer and could lose his license to hunt and fish in Colorado for up to five years, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.