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Why Was a Sanctuary Emu Shot Dead?

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Mary with Kerry Hilliard

The Investigation

Major Mike LaCasse, Chief Investigator for Orange County, says they are “working vigorously” to solve this case.  The problem is there are no leads and no known motive. “We don’t even have a direction [where the bullet was fired from] yet!”

Hilliard is pleased the investigators are actively working this case. She wrote they have been to the crime site many times working on trajectory and other clues.

Even though there are signs posted for “no trespassing” and “no hunting,” it seems hunters are still found on the grounds. With all roads leading to the rescue being a minimum of one mile long, who would not conclude that whoever shot Mary the emu did it with intent, not accidentally? Mary was not walking in the woods, she was shot in her penned-in area where she lived with her unique inter-species family.

Hilliard speculates:

We’ve had a lot of trespassing folks from just a very few families, several prosecuted, I’d venture to say it’s one of them.  We’ve never had any hostility towards any of our animals before.  It’s poaching, out of season hunting and so on that seems to make most folks trespass. And it is very few who do.

It’s repeat offenders that we keep catching over and over. Most of our neighbors and the people of Orange County are wonderful people. We don’t allow hunting on sanctuary property for any reason. Not only is this a sanctuary for animals, discharging firearms where there is a lot of activity, both human and owned animals is very dangerous.

Mary’s Memorial

Mary and the camera shy Beau

There is a cemetery on the grounds where many of the departed animals are buried. Unfortunately, this will not be Mary’s final resting place. Hilliard told me when a necropsy is performed the State of Virginia does not return the remains.

Many of the staff and volunteers who have been touched by Mary’s sweet and gentle nature are planning a memorial service. The plans have not yet been finalized.

Mary’s small family including Windy, Wonda, Gandolf and Beau has certainly been grieving; Beau more than everyone else. “Beau is especially taking it hard and will only eat when hand fed right now,” says Hilliard.

“Animals have all the same emotions we do and they are all grieving in their own way and miss their friend.  They also are now afraid, just like many of us are, looking over your shoulder, worrying about someone else sneaking up and shooting you,” wrote Hilliard.

Sweet Mary, rest in peace. Let’s hope the killer is found and prosecuted.

Related Care 2 Reading:

Dog and Goose Both hated Everyone Until They Found Each Other

Meet A Lucky Group of Rescued Animals Who Escaped Terrible Lives

10 Animals Who Stick Together For The Long Run

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All photos of Mary courtesy of Kerry Hilliard

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5:34AM PST on Nov 11, 2014

so sad but thanks for sharing, RIP Mary

11:30AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Georgia G. My heart hurts as much as yours and my thoughts are aligned with yours. Anyone who kill any beings should be wiped out on the face of this planet as there's no room and no tolerance for such evil act!!

11:25AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Poor and sweet Mary, I hope you rest in peace. I really hope they can catch that cold blooded, coward and bring him/her to justice!!!

3:29PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

RIP Mary! =(

6:52AM PST on Jan 20, 2014

Poor Mary - wish we could find the lowlife who did this to you and do the same to them.

2:36PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

Just horrible. Hope they find the sick SOB's who did this and poor Mary gets justice. RIP Mary.

1:48PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

I hope God has a special Hell for poachers. I am sick to death of hearing of the atrocities done to animals and it seems to be worsening. So frequently now I read of another group of animals being placed on the list headed for extinction and it saddens my heart as I know I cannot turn this trend around. The wanton manner in which animals are being slaughtered I forsee a time in the future when so many more species will be seen only in zoos and books. No more polar bears, elephants, chimps, gorillas, lions, orangutans....does the thought of their disappearance from this planet cause your heart to constrict as it does mine?

3:26PM PST on Jan 18, 2014

I all be following this case. I really hope the criminal will be found. Just hope it's not somebody who works there.

1:48PM PST on Jan 18, 2014

So sad and disgusting,thanks for sharing

5:39PM PST on Jan 17, 2014

Might have been a mercy killing 1,200-1300 animals (unless they are mice) can’t exist on 367 -100 acres for the cages, limited grazing and lot’s of imported feed.

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