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ELDERLY WOMAN CHARGED OVER MERCY
KILLING OF ENDANGERED KEY DEER by Gwen Filosa - WLRN
December 21, 2022
Wendy Kilheffer, 77, of Big Pine Key was charged with killing of an endangered Key Deer.
ELDERLY KEY DEER KILLER SENTENCED
IN FEDERAL COURT – United States Attorney Office
Southern District of Florida
March 23, 2023
Wendy Kilheffer, 77, of Big Pine Key was sentenced in Key West federal district Court for violating the Endangered Species Act by shooting and killing a Key deer.
The Key Deer Protection Alliance is shocked and appalled with this act of violence against not only an innocent animal; but a federally listed Endangered Species. Federal and State officials are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the Key deer’s shooting near Crane Boulevard on Sugarloaf Key Thursday morning. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation’s 24-hour hot line at (888) 404-3922. Callers can remain anonymous. Let’s all work together to solve this heinous crime. Thank you.”
A Key deer stuffed into an SUV has died, police say.
BY GWEN FILOSA UPDATED JULY 30, 2022 7:47 AM
Two Miami men were arrested after a Florida Key deer was found in their truck during a traffic stop in Marathon on Sunday, July 24, 2022, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The Key deer that state wildlife police found stuffed into an SUV on the Overseas Highway in the Keys on Sunday has died. The little buck had just suffered too much — paralyzed back legs and a shattered pelvis. It was euthanized on Monday at the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key.
Yoankis Hernandez Pena, 38, and Andres Leon Valdes, 45, face charges of animal cruelty and taking, possessing or selling a federally designated endangered or threatened species, county jail records show. Each was released from jail after posted $100,000 bond. Valdes was freed on July 25 and Pena on July 26.
The above are excerpts from a story originally published July 27, 2022 3:55 PM. JULY 24, 2022 4:09 PM GWEN FILOSA. Read more at: https://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article263882467.html#storylink=cpy
The fact that the Florida Key deer was included in the 2021 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) 5 -Year Status Review was based on hard work on the part of the Key Deer Protection Alliance, news agencies, and the exceptional help received from Attorney Jason Totoiu, of the Center for Biological Diversity, and Attorney Karimah Schoenhut, of Sierra Club.
Both attorneys have been involved with Key Deer issues since 2018, when a potential lowering of protections ("delisting") of the species by the FWS became known. Both organizations have been instrumental in ensuring that any lowering of the current level of protection of the Key deer follows federal laws regarding endangered species.
Sierra Club brought a successful legal challenge in U.S. District Court to obtain FWS records related to a scientific species status assessment for the Key deer, which, the agency's regulatory arm had refused to release. Using those records to help identify flaws in the science, they subsequently submitted a detailed analysis of the 2021 FWS Special Species Assessment (SSA) to the Biden Administration. This resulted in a FWS Scientific Integrity Office investigation that agreed that the previous Key deer status assessment contained serious error and should not be used in decision-making about the species.
The recent public comment period for the 2021 Special Species Assessment, which will recommend whether the Key deer's status will remain endangered, ended on September 13, 2021. While we still do not know the outcome, we do know many comments were made urging continued maximum protections for the Key deer. Five national and local organizations we have worked with over the years submitted comments: Center for Biological Diversity, Florida Keys Chapter of Isaac Walton League of America, Florida Keys Citizens Coalition, Last Stand and Sierra Club. Additionally, we received feedback from over twenty individuals who submitted comments in opposition to a status change for the Key deer. We are encouraged and hopeful for a positive outcome. We will keep you posted.