On Aug. 20, Richland School District maintenance employees found vandalism done on the athletic fields.
A portable potty was tipped over, and a piece of irrigation equipment valued at $4,400 was tipped over and possibly damaged. The Richland Center Police Department (RCPD) was notified, and is investigating the incident.
Later in the day, around 5 p.m, the high school ag teacher came to the high school to check on the pheasant-raising project. He discovered that one shed was forcibly entered and the feeding and watering mechanisms were kicked over, with dead birds on the floor. He checked on the second shed, which was also forcibly entered. He found more dead birds, and three walls had been damaged to the point where birds could escape. He contacted high school officials, who in turn contacted Richland Center Police Department.
There are 39 dead pheasants, out of the 150 that the program was raising. Many birds escaped, so there are only approximately 40 or fewer remaining.
This is a real blow to a pheasant-raising project that has been operating for 16 years. The project raises day-old chicks from June to October, and then releases them into the wild on local landowners’ property. It is completely funded by the local FFA organization. The purpose of the program is to promote wildlife conservation and benefit students in the Ag classroom. There are five to 10 students who supply all of the manpower.
The RCPD is working with school district officials who believe both incidents are related. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Richland Center Police at 608-647-2103 or Crime Stoppers at 608-647-2583. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.