More than 500,000 people sign petition to bring 'maximum' punishment to men seen assaulting injured deer

Officials called the video of the assault "reprehensible."

December 5, 2019, 8:16 AM

More than 500,000 people are petitioning for criminal charges to be brought against two young men who were seen assaulting an injured deer.

The online petition, which, at the time this story was originally published, was just a few thousand signatures short of its 500,000 goal but was growing by the second, wrote that "charges need to be filed with maximum sentencing."

The petition has since reached over 514,000 signatures and extended its goal to 1 million.

A video that circulated on the internet -- allegedly showing two people kicking the deer in its face, stepping on it and ripping its antlers out in Pennsylvania -- prompted the petition. The video has since been removed from Facebook but images appear to show the attack.

A spokesperson with the Pennsylvania Game Commission told ABC News on Wednesday authorities are expecting to announce charges soon, but no arrests have been made.

PHOTO: A deer in a woodland area.
A deer in a woodland area.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

He said he could not release details about the attackers or the area in which the assault took place.

He also would not say exactly what was seen in the video, but the commission on Sunday called it "reprehensible and potentially a violation of the law," according to a statement.

The attack comes about a week after President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that make animal cruelty a federal felony.

The bipartisan bill, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, criminalizes certain acts of animal cruelty.

Anyone with information regarding the deer incident is asked to contact the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888–PGC-8001 or the Game Commission’s Northwest Region Dispatch Office at 814-432-3187.

ABC News' Matt Zarrell contributed to this report.

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