A Carroll County, Maryland Deputy was caught on video fatally shooting a groundhog as it was trying to cross Old Liberty Road, near White Rock Road. The video quickly went viral after being posted on Facebook.
The deputy stopped and blocked traffic when he saw traffic backed up because people were trying not to run over the animal, reported CBS Baltimore.
The sheriff’s office said a groundhog was walking into the roadway, “causing vehicles to stop and creating a hazard.”
The deputy tried to chase the groundhog off the road, but the animal did not obey commands.
Rather than simply try to capture the generally peaceful, vegetarian animal, he decided to shoot it, but the first shot only injured it, so he fired a second round from a different angle and killed it.
The sheriff’s office said the deputy killed the creature to protect people, “Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured,” the deputy shot the groundhog, and “put the animal down for the public’s safety.”
The woman who posted the video to Facebook says she was distraught and “did not think that it would take this turn.”
The sheriff’s office released this statement:
“The deputy was travelling on Rt 26 in the area of White Rock Road when he observed traffic backing up along the road. He found that the groundhog in question was walking into the roadway, causing vehicles to stop and creating a hazard. He got out of his vehicle to assess, and as he tried to direct the groundhog off of the roadway, he realized that it was not responding as expected for an animal that was not being cornered or trapped. Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured, the deputy then put the animal down for the public’s safety.”