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Game Commission after deer chased, falls through ice: Keep dogs on a leash

UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It all started with a photo, and neighbors calling the Pennsylvania Game Commission to report that two dogs chased a deer onto the i...
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UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- It all started with a photo, and neighbors calling the Pennsylvania Game Commission to report that two dogs chased a deer onto the ice on Shickshinny Lake. That deer later died.

"Those two dogs chased the deer onto the ice, which compounds the problem, exhausts the deer, and then actually to the point where the deer actually died whether through attack or exhaustion," explained Officer Mark Rutkowski of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Rutkowski says what happened to that deer last week is actually illegal, but not that uncommon. He says the northeast region office sees incidents like this four to five times a year.

"The law does state that your animals - domestic animals - particularly dogs, cannot pursue game or wildlife," said Rutkowski.

Rutkowski explained the only time dogs can be used when hunting is for the practice of flushing.

"Traditionally, people use dogs hounds to pursue rabbits. It's more of a flushing technique whether they're hunting pheasants or quail or rabbits. They would use those particular hunting dogs for flushing. This instance was nowhere near a hunting incident," added Rutkowski.

The Game Commission told Newswatch 16 that the owner of the two dogs is cooperating with the investigation, but they will be facing penalties.

"Those dog owners can be facing is a citation for allowing their dogs to pursue or attack wildlife, and there can be replacement cost assessed for the wildlife that was lost," said Rutkowski.

As for what you can do to prevent such an incident happening with your pet, the game commission says the answer is simple: follow the law and keep your dog on a leash.

"We caution people who have dogs that might leave their yard that they should definitely be tethered at some point or a fence, invisible fence to safeguard against something like this happening," said Rutkowski.

The owner of those dogs could end up having to pay $800 in restitution for that deer, as well as a hefty fine.