TIBURON, Calif. (AP) — A resident of an exclusive San Francisco Bay neighborhood is the target of online outrage and may face criminal charges for shooting to death a doe and its fawn that were eating newly installed landscaping.
Tiburon police arrested Mark Dickinson, 54, shortly after 5 a.m. on Sept. 2. Officers were responding to a report of a suspicious person when they found two severely injured deer in the street near Dickinson's bay-view home. The animals died a short time later.
Officers arrested Dickinson after they determined he shot the deer several times with a high-powered pellet gun with scope, laser and flashlight attachment, according to chief Michael Cronin.
Cronin said Dickinson told officers he meant to scare away the deer, which were eating decorative plants. Dickinson was booked and released from jail Sept. 2.
Dickinson's lawyer Charles Dresow said the killing was an accident.
"My client did not intend to harm the animals," Dresow said in an email. "The public outrage related to these allegations is driven by the inflammatory claims of the Tiburon Police Department which haven't been proven in Court."
The Marin County Humane Society was called to dispose of the deer and the agency is urging prosecutors to file charges.
Society spokeswoman Lisa Bosch said the deer suffered a long and painful death. She said the wooded region just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge is home to a variety of wildlife, including an abundance of deer.
Bosch said residents who want to prevent deer and other animals from eating and trampling landscaping often erected fences and other impediments.
"It was a momma doe and her daughter and they weren't menacing anyone," Bosch said. "Using violence is something that is upsetting to people. We are certainly disturbed."
Thousands of negative comments have been posted on several social media sites, including Facebook and the Tiburon section of the web site NextDoor calling for prosecutors to charge Dickinson.
Tiburon is one of the wealthiest enclaves in the county. The median household income is $130,000 and the median home price is $2.3 million.