A pontoon boater in Minnesota has been charged with cruelty toward animals stemming from an incident on Tulaby Lake in the northwestern part of the state.
Steven William Timm, a 55-year-old man from Moorehead, Minnesota, is accused of circling a big buck with his pontoon boat and preventing the deer from reaching shore.
Several witnesses were quoted as saying that Timm harassed the animal until it drowned due to sheer exhaustion.
Timm has told the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that he was not trying to hurt the deer, but rather turn it back toward to shore.
On Sept. 6, 2015, a witness noticed the buck swimming in Tulaby Lake.
The witness then described a man in a white pontoon boat motoring toward the deer.
At that point the deer spooked and started swimming farther out into the lake.
The pontoon boat was said to have circled the deer, preventing it from swimming toward the public landing, and even sped up to pursue the animal from behind.
One witness, David Kvidt, said that he got into his own pontoon boat to try and reach the man to make him stop, but when he arrived it was too late.
The deer was floating belly-up.
Another witness, Ken Bauman along with his wife, child, and his grandchildren were also present during the incident.
Bauman said that the deer was swimming toward the shore, and swimming strongly.
As the pontoon closed in on it, it began to swim toward the public landing.
The pontoon boat then came alongside the deer cutting it off from the shore, and then in front of it causing it to head out into the center of the lake.
Deer are known to be strong swimmers, but the circumstances were too much for this particular deer.
Two misdemeanor charges were filed against Timm in Mahnomen County District Court.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.