DNREC Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Richard Bunting, 20, of Frankford on July 9 and two juveniles on July 13 and charged them with multiple deer poaching and with felony charges, following an investigation into a reported wildlife animal cruelty incident that occurred July 8 in the Hudson Road area near Gumboro.
The incident allegedly involved Bunting and two juveniles video recording themselves intentionally hitting a deer with a motor vehicle and continuing to perform cruel acts on the deer, which ultimately resulted in its death. Bunting and the two juveniles were charged with one count each of felony cruelty to animals, felony conspiracy second degree, hunting deer during a closed season, possessing or transporting an unlawfully killed antlerless deer, unlicensed hunting and underage possession of alcohol.
Bunting was arraigned via video with Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and released on his own recognizance pending future court appearances in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas. The two juveniles were released to their parents and are awaiting arraignment with Family Court in Georgetown.
Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
The public is encouraged to report fish, wildlife and boating violations to the Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to http://de.gov/ogt or using the DENRP Tip app; Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.