For the past month, Linda Wood and her Mountaineer Village community have been subjected to local poachers who have claimed the lives of over twenty deer.
During the evening hours of the second week of December, Wood and her neighbors were shocked to hear four or five gun shots within close proximity. On December 9th, she filed her first report with the Caernarvon Township Berks County Police Department concerning the shots. Corporal Scalia investigated the incident. As protocol demands Corporal Scalia swept the surrounding area, but found nothing.
However, a few days later, Wood noticed that her dog was sick. On Saturday, Merry Christmas Woods, a Keeshond Samoyed mix, was rushed to the hospital after experiencing vomiting combined with diarrhea. Her neighbor's dog, Molson, a Basset Hound, experienced the same sickness. Coincidentally, both of these small dogs, who are strictly house pets, were let outside to play just the day before when the shooting initially began.
The toxin could not be identified by the veterinarians, however, rat poison was ruled out. It is believed that the poison was mixed with food that the dogs found in the woods the day they exercised outside together. To date, in excess of $2,000 were spent in medical bills on Merry Christmas Woods. Fortunately, the dogs are on their way to a full recovery.
A few weeks later, on Friday, December 31, at 12:45 a.m. Woods again heard four or five loud gun shots, which up to that point have been occurring frequently, but this time she woke up in the morning and was disgusted to find two deer caucuses in a field behind her house. The deer were located near a fence where the woods behind her house meet with a Mennonite farm field.
At 9:00 a.m. the next morning she filed her second police report. Sergeant West, who is currently on leave, investigated the scene. The report read that the two dear were found at the intersection of Shiloh Road and Hill Road. West reported that it appeared that the deer were shot from a car given the position of the animals in respect to the road. He also reported that the game commission was also called to the scene.
"We take a lot of calls about hunting and poaching," said Police Chief Paul Stolz. "We forward some to the game commission if needed, we handle cases that we can do ourselves and visa versa. But, we did not have to call them on this. We don't know who did."
Stolz also stated that as far as he knows no one in that area has any special privileges when it comes to hunting laws.
As far as Wood and her neighbors are concerned they are doing their own investigation into the shootings. So far, 15 decapitated deer bodies have been found between Shiloh Road and the turnpike, five more in Mountaineer Village. They believe that the heads, both buck and doe, are being sold in Philadelphia as trophies. The poachers have been spotted in two vehicles, one being a older modeled red and black truck and the other a low-riding blue and green truck. All of the shootings have taken place between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. No spotlights have been spotted leading the villagers to believe that night scopes may have been used.
So far, no complaints have been filed against anyone and the police have no suspects. But, that is not stopping Mountaineer Village.
"We will find out who is doing this," said Wood. "We have to."
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