MARATHON, Fla. – One of three Key deer that was captured and bound by two men in the Florida Keys over the weekend had to be euthanized Thursday morning because of a broken leg, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Bobby Dube said.
Dube said the injured deer was treated at Marathon Veterinary Hospital.
Authorities said Erik Yosmany Damas Acosta, 18, of Miami Gardens, and Tumani Anthony Younge, 23, of Tamarac, were arrested Sunday after they were pulled over in Little Torch Key, and a deputy found two Key deer in the back seat and one in the trunk.
Authorities said the three endangered deer, two doe and a buck, were hog-tied and had injuries consistent with struggling in a confined space.
Authorities said photographs were taken for evidence, and the two other deer were released back into the wild as quickly as possible in the hopes that more injury and shock would be prevented.
Damas Acosta and Younge were arrested on charges of injuring an endangered species, taking deer out of season and animal cruelty.
When asked why they tied up the deer, Damas Acosta said he had tied them up after luring them with food and that he only planned to take pictures with them, authorities said.
Damas Acosta went on to say that he didn't know the deer were endangered.
Third-degree felonies, which the suspects face, are punishable by up to up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.