BROOKVILLE — The Game Commission’s investigation into a video of alleged animal abuse that began circulating social media late Saturday night is ongoing.
“We’ve had four officers dedicated to this since Saturday evening, and even worked quite a few hours Sunday on it,” Chip Brunst said, from the Game Commission.
Brunst said they have identified two individuals, but the investigation is still incomplete. The Game Commission is working with the Punxsutawney based State Police and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office on this case.
The Game Commission is also aware of the additional videos that have surfaced of someone allegedly abusing a groundhog on a bridge. This will be treated as a separate case entirely, because it is a different individual in this video. They will not be addressing it until they are further in the current investigation of the deer videos.
The Northwest branch of the Game Commission has received more than 100 phone calls since the videos were posted, and not all of them have been kind. Brunst said they’ve had a couple calls from people calling them names for not seeming to do anything about the situation.
Brunst said one frustrating thing about all of this happening over social media is that people seem to expect instant gratification once the situation is made public. He said investigations don’t work like that, and it will take some time to be completed and see results.
He went on to encourage anyone with new information to call the office, but said they are well past the videos already.
“One thing I would like to emphasize is this is not PA hunters. This was a childish act that I’m sure they will regret, but it’s not what identifies Pennsylvania Hunters,” Brunst said.
If the investigation results in charges being filed, when that happens, the Game Commission will make a simultaneous post on their Facebook page. Brunst said the Game Commission will be able to answer more questions once that time comes.
The Brookville Area School District also released a statement in regards to the videos.
“Given the video posted to social media and the ensuing outrage. We are taking steps to ensure the safety and security of students and staff. While the proper authorities are investigating the incident. We are also mindful of the trauma that can be caused by exposure to this kind of content.” The district had counselors and clergy stationed in all of its schools Tuesday and available as needed.
“Going forward, we will give additional emphasis to the humane treatment of animals in curriculum at various grade levels. We want to make it clear to our students, the community and the country that the mistreatment of animals will not be tolerated in Brookville. Thank you for the trust you have placed in our district, and your patience, as we work through the situation, and its aftermath,” the district’s statement concluded.
As a safety percaution, Brookville Borough police officers were present on school property during the school board’s reorganization meeting Tuesday night.
BROOKVILLE — Don Gill was re-elected president of the Brookville Area School Board during the board’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday night.
Prior to the meeting the six members elected to the board last month were given their oath of office. During the meeting board secretary Ellen Neyman read the election certificates, verifying that the following had been elected: Luc Doolittle, two-year-term; Don Gill, Herbert McConnell, Richard Ortz, Fred Park and Kerith Strano Taylor, four-year-terms.
Fred Park was re-elected to serve as vice president of the board for the coming year.
Serving as temporary president during the election of officers was board member John Pozza.
The board approved the schedule of meetings for the coming year. Regular, voting meetings will be held the third Monday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. The board voted to change the beginning time for the monthly work sessions to 6 p.m., the second Monday of each month, with any necessary executive session to be held following the work session. No work sessions have been scheduled for April, July or December. Superintendent Erich May explained that the work session in April would fall during Easter vacation. If a work session does become necessary in April due to work on the budget, it will be scheduled for a different time. All meetings will be held in the LGI room at Hickory Grove.
Appointed to serve as the board’s PSBA liaison was Herb McConnell. Kerith Strano Taylor was appointed to be the board’s representative to the Raider Scholastic Foundation board.
The board approved four committees for the coming year: Building and grounds, negotiations, transportation and athletics and extra-curricular activities. Gill appointed Schindler, Strano Taylor and Ortz to serve on the negotiations committee, since they had already been serving on the committee and negotiations are now underway.
Gill said he wants to appoint the members to the other committees at the January meeting and told the board members to let him know if they are interested on serving on a committee.
Following the reorganization meeting, the regular monthly meeting was held.