Vandals killed 39 pheasants at Richland High School and allowed dozens more to escape, according to a release from the Richland School District.
Officials said maintenance employees found vandalism at the district’s athletic fields Wednesday morning including a tipped portable toilet and a tipped piece of irrigation equipment valued at $4,400.
At 5 p.m. the same day the high school agriculture teacher was checking on a pheasant-raising project, and found a shed was forcibly entered. The teacher found dead birds on the floor and the watering mechanism tipped over. A second shed was also entered where more dead birds were found and three walls were damaged to the point that birds could escape, according to the release.
Out of 150 pheasants in the program, 39 were found dead and about 70 escaped.
The district said the pheasant-raising project has operated for 16 years and is funded by the local FFA chapter. The project raises day-old chicks from June to October, and then releases them into the wild on local landowner’s property
“Not only is this a horrible loss of pheasants, but a real blow to a student project that benefits classroom studies and local land owners,” the release stated.
Richland Center police are 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.