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A Sheriff's Deputy Shot And Killed A Groundhog In The Middle Of A Road

It was not the groundhog's day.

Posted on May 8, 2018, at 7:57 p.m. ET

A sheriff's deputy in Carroll County, Maryland, shot and killed a groundhog that was apparently interfering with traffic on Monday.

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The lethal encounter was caught on video by Facebook user Justyna Olkowska. WARNING: THIS CBS VIDEO SHOWS THE GROUNDHOG BEING SHOT, TWICE.

View this video on YouTube

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At first, the standoff appears to be a cute Small Critter Not Here For Your Shit situation as the deputy attempts to shoo the groundhog off the road.

Facebook / Via Facebook: justynaolkowska

But then the situation....escalates...

Facebook / Via Facebook: justynaolkowska

After the groundhog appears to charge, the deputy draws his gun. THIS IS THE GROUNDHOG'S LAST FEW SECONDS OF LIFE:

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FULL STOP.

It's about here in the story where people are probably wondering WTF is happening because it's literally a groundhog, which are typically seen scurrying into a burrow, not confronting a grown-ass man in the middle of a busy street.

Multiple wildlife biology experts did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment, but Karen Baker, executive director of the Carroll County Humane Society, told local NBC affiliate WBAL-TV that the groundhog's behavior in the video wasn't normal.

For starters, groundhogs are very, very shy and skittish — so much so that there is relatively little field observation research because they're so hard to creep on. And with adult groundhogs reaching between 16 and 20 inches long, including their tails, it's easy to see why: They make a nice snack for coyotes, foxes, and birds of prey.

"Under normal circumstances, an animal will take its easiest route of escape when it's threatened or frightened," Baker told the news station. "Normally, an animal will run from humans, especially if you're making yourself large, you're stomping your feet, you're loud."

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office referenced this unusual behavior in explaining the deputy's actions, saying the groundhog was "creating a hazard" for drivers.

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"He realized that it was not responding as expected for an animal that was not being cornered or trapped," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured, the deputy then put the animal down for the public’s safety."

Even the woman who filmed the encounter, while expressing sadness at witnessing the groundhog's sudden death, says in the video that she's "sure the officer did the best thing in this situation."

Since the groundhog isn't believed to have had direct contact with humans or livestock, the carcass won't be tested for possible rabies or other ailment, WBAL-TV reported. So we will never know what the hell the groundhog was doing.

RIP, groundhog. We hardly knew ye.

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