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    Thousands join campaign on Change.org demanding investigation into North Carolina’s authorized killing of nine penned deer on Randolph County rehabilitation farm

    RALEIGH, NC – Thousands of people have joined a popular campaign on Change.org demanding the North Carolina Wildlife Commission investigate the shooting of nine tame deer on a rehabilitation farm in North Carolina.
    Millie Bowling, a concerned North Carolina resident, created the online petition after armed wildlife agents stormed a Randolph County rehabilitation farm on September 20 and shot and killed nine penned dear, including one fawn and a deer blinded in one eye.
    “I’m a great supporter of the wildlife commission,” said Bowling, who started the petition on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. “But they are out of control shooting these animals.”
    Locals claim that the commission, game warden, and wildlife agents abused their power in the deer killing incident. While the wildlife agents who stormed the property claimed to have a warrant, residents counter that the warrant did not authorize agents to kill the animals, only to seize them.
    “Where were our fourth amendment rights in all this?” asked Jo Henderson, a neighbor who initially raised one of the slain deer before placing it on the rehabilitation farm. “It just breaks my heart. There was no reason to kill those animals, and our rights are being trampled. We’re not going to stand for it.”
    Attorney Matthew Altamura is representing rehabilitation farm owner Wayne Kindley. He released a statement saying, “The search warrant obtained by the WRC officers did not authorize any form of killing. The warrant was strictly limited to the seizing and holding of the deer until further order of the court. Acting without court order, the officers simply decided to shoot first and make excuses later.”
    News of the campaign’s success is likely to increase pressure on the wildlife commission. Henderson has been collecting petition signatures both online and offline and plans to deliver them at a wildlife commission meeting on Thursday.
    “People across the country have been moved by this campaign,” said Corinne Ball, Director of Organizing at Change.org. “This may have happened in a small community in North Carolina, but now folks from all over are paying attention. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to take action on issues that matter to them, and it’s been really incredible watching Millie Bowling’s campaign take off.”
    County resident Jo Henderson will deliver more than 6,000 signatures at the North Carolina Wildlife Commission meeting at 9:00AM on Thursday, October 13, in the NCWRC Conference Room at 1751 Varsity Drive.
    Live signature totals from Millie Bowling’s campaign:
    Associated Press coverage of the campaign:
    WGHP coverage of the campaign:
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    Michigan court rules that petition to save three victims of animal cruelty can stay on Change.org

    MONROE, MICHIGAN – A Monroe County judge has upheld the First Amendment rights of animal activists appealing for the lives of three dogs rescued from a dog fighting bust.

    Advocates from the Monroe SPCA and Buster Foundation, a pit bull rescue group based in Belleville, Mich., posted photographs and videos of the dogs online to support their case that the animals should not be put down.

    Jennifer Burke, a local animal advocate, started a petition on Change.org, the world’s fastest growing social change platform. The petition, which has gathered more than 4,000 signatures in less than three weeks, features a video of a dog named “Dusty” being evaluated by Dr. Katherine Houpt, the prosecution’s expert witness. The video makes the case that that Dr. Houpt’s testimony condemning the dog does not match the evidence.

    “I created the petition because we were finally allowed to show the public what sweet, gentle dogs these are, and my opinion is that the expert was biased based on the testimony from her evaluations,” said Burke, the Change.org petition starter, in reference to the July 13th decision to put three of the four dogs down.

    The Monroe County prosecutor wanted the groups held in contempt of court for distributing materials about the case online. But on August 4 Judge Vitale of the First District Court ruled that forcing the advocates to remove the photos and video from Change.org, their websites and social media would infringe on their First Amendment rights.

    “This is about fighting for whats right, and we have 3800 signatures to prove that we are not alone,” said Burke, the Change.org petition starter. “We are aware that there are thousands of other dogs out there that need rescue, however if we continue to stand by and watch these needless killings we aren’t getting to the root of the problem. Michigan taxpayers have a right to know where their money is being spent.”

    “We are shocked that the prosecution has made our battle for getting these dogs vet care, training, and human contact almost impossible,” Burke continued. “This is wrong, and we are standing up for ourselves and for these dogs that deserve a second chance. This victory means we are re-energized for our appeal. The community support has been amazing.”

    “The dedication of Ms. Burke, the rescue groups and the community to giving these dogs a second chance is remarkable,” said Stephanie Feldstein, Senior Organizer for Change.org. “Through the petition on Change.org and their social media outreach, they’ve truly succeeded in giving these dogs a voice.”

    The groups will gain custody of one dog, Razzle, later this month. The appeal to save the lives of Dusty and two other dogs has not yet been scheduled.

    Live signature totals from the campaign on Change.org: