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Wildlife activists want animal cruelty charge applied to deer poaching case
By Emma Cotton,
Wildlife activists are pressing the Caledonia County state’s attorney to do something unusual: charge a hunter with animal cruelty.
Their argument focuses on a case in which Logan Bogie, 21, a resident of East Ryegate, shot a large buck with a crossbow last fall. The hunter maimed the animal but did not kill it until later that night — and not before taking pictures and videos of himself petting the animal and calling it a “good boy.” The videos, obtained by VTDigger, show the buck panting and bleeding.
In Vermont, hunters are typically exempt from animal cruelty charges. The law, contained in Title 13, does not apply to “activities regulated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife,” which include hunting, trapping and fishing.
But Protect Our Wildlife, an advocacy group based in Stowe, is arguing that the state law should not exempt “gratuitous cruelty” to wildlife. While animal cruelty laws across the country typically contain exemptions for hunters, some state courts have held that abject cruelty to wildlife is not exempt, according to Brenna Galdenzi, president of Protect Our Wildlife. She referred to a Wisconsin case in which the court found two men guilty of animal cruelty after they charged a herd of deer with snowmobiles, killing four by running them over.
The Vermont incident was part of a larger query, carried out by state game warden William Seegers, that followed a different poaching incident in which Bogie illegally killed a deer in Ryegate in fall 2022 but reported that he killed it in Massachusetts.
Seegers obtained a warrant to search Bogie’s phone and said he found numerous violations of hunting laws, including allegedly poaching seven deer and one bear.
After reading about Bogie’s deer poaching charges in the Caledonian Record , a friend of Galdenzi’s filed a public record request and received Seegers’ affidavit, along with photos and videos from Bogie’s phone, which Galdenzi sent to VTDigger.
“The observed pattern was that Logan and (redacted name) would shoot deer at night, known as jacking, and subsequently tag and report the deer, claiming that the time of death was during legal hunting hours after the actual harvest time,” Seegers wrote in his affidavit, filed in the criminal division of Caledonia County Court.
In the incident that spurred Protect Our Wildlife to press for an animal cruelty charge, Bogie told Seegers he had seen his ex-girlfriend that night and was feeling angry. He came across the buck while driving, shot it, then left to pick up another person — whose name is redacted from the public records — to help transport it. When Bogie returned 45 minutes later, he saw that the animal was not dead, according to the affidavit. Seegers said the animal likely had a spinal injury from the shot and couldn’t move.
The hunters did not have the equipment to kill the deer before transporting it, Bogie told Seegers. They drove the live deer to a hay barn and took photos and videos, which show Bogie patting the injured deer’s head and calling it a “good boy.”
“Logan told me that he eventually finished the buck off with an arrow (bolt) while it was in the barn, estimating that it was alive in the barn for five minutes, or maybe longer as he had to retrieve the arrow (bolt) from the residence,” Seegers wrote.
Including travel time, loading and unloading, Seegers estimated that Logan and his friend “were in possession of the buck for at least half an hour while it was still alive.”
“I would say measures were not taken to kill it as quickly as possible,” Seegers said in an interview. “Things like videos of it and all that certainly would not exist, obviously.”
He also said the case was “something that I hadn’t seen before and would be pretty surprised to come across again.”
Seegers referred to the exemption in Title 13 while explaining why he didn’t suggest charging Bogie with animal cruelty.
“That chapter does not apply to wildlife, or animals governed and managed by Fish & Wildlife,” he said. “It specifically states, pretty much, that wild animals are exempt from the animal cruelty statutes.”
Galdenzi called the case “intentionally cruel.”
She cited a line from the animal cruelty law — “A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person tortures or torments an animal” — and said Bogie’s actions met the law’s definition.
Not charging him, she said, sends a message “that wildlife are merely objects to be abused, tormented and tortured without consequence.”
VTDigger reached Bogie’s grandfather by phone on Wednesday, who said Bogie was not currently available to speak. Bogie did not return a request for comment.
Jessica Zaleski, the Caledonia County state’s attorney who is handling the case, did not respond to requests for comment left Thursday and Friday.
Bogie is charged with 18 violations of state hunting laws, including seven counts of taking wildlife while his license was suspended, four counts of shooting game from a motor vehicle, five counts of taking big game out of season and violating the annual deer limit.
In the instance of the live buck, Bogie is charged with the illegal importation and stocking of wild animals.
Bogie is scheduled for a status conference hearing in Caledonia Superior criminal court on Monday.