June 16, 1997

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Accidents the result of teens aiming for animals

By ANTHONY BREZNICAN

The Associated Press

SMETHPORT, Pa. (AP) -- Teens are risking their lives by deliberately running down animals with their cars, a county commissioner said Wednesday.

McKean County Commissioner Larry Stratton said teens told him at least two accidents occurred because of the practice known as "animal bashing."

Stratton, who is also a farmer, said young motorists travel around back roads in northwestern Pennsylvania at night and try to run over animals crossing the roads.

"Mostly it's smaller animals, but they could go for a small fawn or something that won't cause too much damage," he said.

If they miss, Stratton said the teenagers will jump from their cars and beat the animal to death with baseball bats and golf clubs.

"I've asked police to search for blood or hair on those types of items found on the scene of accidents," he said.

He said cars are traveling at high speeds, and the drivers lose control when they jerk their vehicles back onto the road.

"My aim is not to place blame on anyone. I just want to prevent accidents from happening," Stratton said.