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Deer drive changes hands

February 27, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL and PEPPER BALLARD

shappell@herald-mail.com
pepperb@herald-mail.com

The man who made Hagerstown famous for saving Bucky the deer last week continued fund-raising efforts for the animal's care and lobbying purposes Thursday, saying the efforts were necessary.

Kevin Hall, who had asked prospective contributors to donate money directly to him, has a criminal record dating to 1991. That includes a theft charge in Hagerstown for which he spent nearly a year in the Washington County Detention Center.

Money was dropped into a donation box on the front counter of Godlove's Liquor Store throughout Thursday's fund-raising event, and store manger Joe Godlove pledged to donate 10 percent of the day's register proceeds to fund-raising efforts for Bucky.

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Godlove said he came up with the idea for the store to make the donation because a lot of patrons talked about Bucky and because of the Halls' diligent efforts to save the deer from death.

Hall, 51, said he wanted to raise funds for three purposes: To hire a veterinarian to examine Bucky; to buy hay, grain and a salt block for the dietary needs of Bucky and other deer who are unable to forage because of icy winter conditions; and to lobby in Annapolis to convince government representatives to initiate a review of the Department of Natural Resources' policies.

Hall said he planned to begin traveling to Annapolis in the near future to lobby representatives to initiate the review. He said he would take off time from work and stay in Annapolis for longer stints if efforts progress well.

He said doing so is necessary because of the DNR's wildly inconsistent responses to Bucky last week. On Feb. 17 alone, the DNR talked about rehabilitating the deer and killing it for testing.

"We got tired of hearing, 'We're going to put him down,'" Hall said. "There were just a lot of conflicting directions given to us."

Hall and his wife, Starla, found the deer in the street near the liquor store on Feb. 15 and took it into their home for several days. They said Bucky appeared dazed and injured when they found him and continued to return to their porch following attempts to release the deer.

Told by state officials that the deer would have to be euthanized, Kevin Hall and two men drove Bucky to Potomac Fish & Game Club near Williamsport last Thursday and released the animal.

On Wednesday, The Herald-Mail newspapers ran a letter to the editor from the Halls asking for donations so Kevin Hall could lobby in Annapolis for changes in DNR policy.

Because of the request for donations and because no bank account was set up for the proceeds in advance, the newspaper checked court records Thursday and found several offenses.

Just before 7 p.m., less than three hours after being asked about his brushes with the law, Hall said he relinquished control of the fund-raiser to Godlove, and said he would not be involved with the collection of money. Godlove, who said the store was donating $200 and that customer donations totaled another $100, said Thursday evening he plans to send all money collected to the Potomac Fish and Game Club.

Hall said he already has paid his debt to society.

"That's not who I am now, anywhere near it," Hall said.

Hall's record dates to 1991, when he pleaded guilty in Worcester County District Court to having an open container of alcohol, according to court records.

In 1994, Hall received probation before judgment on a misdemeanor theft charge in Anne Arundel County, court records state.

Also in 1994, Hall pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of more than $300 in Washington County after he was charged with taking a $2,300 cash deposit on a fencing contract and not returning a truck that belonged to the company he was working for at the time.

In March 1995, a Washington County Circuit judge sentenced Hall to 18 months at the Washington County Detention Center on the charge. The sentence was modified in January 1996, giving Hall credit for 349 days he served in jail and suspending the balance of the sentence.

In 1994, Hall pleaded guilty in Frederick County District Court to the charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, court records state.

In 2001, a charge against Hall involving bad checks over $300 was placed on the stet docket in Anne Arundel County District Court. Placement on the stet docket signifies an indefinite stay on further proceedings.

Hall said Thursday the fund-raising efforts should be based on the merits of trying to keep Bucky alive and not on his past personal history. He said the key word is "past," and that he has matured in recent years.

"I've taken whatever steps necessary to redirect my life," Hall said.

Hall attributed his turnaround to several "steps," including marrying Starla about three years ago.

Hall said his aim was true in helping Bucky, and that he did not force or pressure people into donating to the cause.

"Everyone's free to make their own decisions, but they should do it on the facts," Hall said Thursday afternoon. "We have no interest in scamming or stealing from anyone."

Minutes later, he added, "I'm not pressing on anyone's arm" for donations.

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