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Bizarre Turn of Events at the Side of a Road

JACKSON, Miss. (CN) - In a strange turn of events, a woman claims a sheriff's deputy badly botched her request to euthanize a wounded deer, then arrested her on a bogus charge, which prevented her from adopting a baby.

Erika Felter and her husband sued Adams County, its sheriff and former sheriff and former Deputy Sheriff Darryl Longino, in Federal Court.

Felter says she called the Adams County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 19, 2009, "for assistance in euthanizing and disposing of a large, badly injured deer just off the roadway."

Longino responded, and the Felters say they "implored Deputy Longino to end the animal's suffering by shooting it in the head. Deputy Longino shot the animal twice, once in the throat and once in the jaw. Neither shot was lethal and the further injured animal attempted to crawl away."

Meanwhile, Erika Felter's brother, Michael Bumgarner, arrived with her husband's deer rifle. "Deputy Longino refused to allow either Michael Bumgarner or Jonathan Felter to kill the animal, stating that 'it would eventually die,'" the complaint states.

Erika Felter says she "continued to implore Deputy Longino to kill the animal," when, "precipitously and without justification, Deputy Longino handcuffed Erika Felter and took her against her will and without consent to the Adams County Jail."

Felter was charged with "failure to obey an officer." The charge was "eventually dismissed," she says, but because The Natchez Democrat newspaper published an article about her arrest, she and her husband were "disqualified as putative adoptive parents."

The Felters were "actively engaged" in trying to adopt through the Natchez Children's Home before the brouhaha erupted.

They seek damages for civil right violations, personal injuries, embarrassment and humiliation, mental pain and anguish, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

They are represented by Wren Way with Way, Field & Bodron of Vicksburg.

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