Robert Bieber/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

People are not happy with this cop who shot a groundhog

The groundhog was behaving oddly, according to the police.


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on May 9, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 4:19 pm CDT

A cell phone video that started out cute and funny suddenly turned violent and sad when a sheriff’s deputy in Eldersburg, Maryland shot and killed a groundhog that was blocking traffic on Liberty Road in Eldersburg.

The video was first posted to Facebook on May 6 by Justyna Olkowska, the woman who captured the footage. As you can see, the deputy first tries to scare the groundhog out of the road, but when the animal comes towards him he drops to one knee and fires his gun. The groundhog survives the first shot, so the deputy again drops to one knee and fires a second time.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s department issued a statement in which they say the animal was acting oddly and might have been sick or injured.

“He [the deputy] realized that it was not responding as expected for an animal that was not being cornered or trapped,” the department said. “Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured, the deputy then put the animal down for the public’s safety.”

Karen Baker, executive director of the Carroll County Humane Society, agreed that it was “unusual behavior.”

“Under normal circumstances, an animal will take its easiest route of escape when it’s threatened or frightened,” Baker told local news station WBAL “Normally, an animal will run from humans, especially if you’re making yourself large, you’re stomping your feet, you’re loud.”

Baker said the humane society will not be testing the animal for any diseases since it didn’t come in contact with humans or domestic animals.

The reactions on Twitter were overwhelmingly negative, with most people feeling the situation could have been handled far better.

And naturally, people saw parallels between the deputy’s actions and other instances of police officers using deadly force.

A lot of people also pointed out that the groundhog’s killing was getting more attention than some stories about people of color being shot by police.

On Tuesday, there was another groundhog-related incident in Eldersburg: a woman says a groundhog came after her in a parking lot.


Share this article
*First Published: May 9, 2018, 11:53 am CDT