A Galloway Township police officer euthanized a deer Thursday morning and the department is now facing a social media backlash.

According to a post on their Facebook page, around 9:00 Thursday morning a Galloway Township police officer responded to a report of a wounded deer on the side of a road. Officials say the veteran police supervisor found the deer and it appeared to be sick or injured, possibly struck by a vehicle.

Cops say the young deer was solitary, it did not startle, and it allowed the officer to get very close, which further indicated the animal was sick or severely injured.

The post goes on to say,

The officer observed the deer for a period of time and during that time the condition of the animal deteriorated and it appeared to be laboring to breathe. At that time the officer made the decision to humanely euthanize the deer to alleviate any further suffering. The officer used sound judgment and discretion based on his years of experience.

Galloway Police say the officer acted in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Atlantic County Prosecutors Office and the Office of the NJ Attorney General, as they relate to the destruction / euthanization of dangerous or wounded animals.

Following the news release, numerous people posted comments bashing the officer's decision.

"Well this is BS!! Animal control was called to the situation and upon arriving your officers shot a BABY DEER! All they needed to due was wait 20 mins and let Animal Control who specializes in hurt sick or ill animals take control and they were on there way!. They will better know the extremities if any of the Animal to make that decicision not a mere police officer. Sorry but this heartless story is mere BS!"
wrote one person.

Another person wrote, "The fawn was not wounded until the bullet hit it......If your officer filed his paperwork saying otherwise I expect disciplinary action.....Someone who can so callously kill a defenseless animal should not be given a gun and a badge......".

More comments can be found on the Galloway Township Police Department's Facebook page.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 95.5 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.