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Press Release

Big Pine Key Resident Charged with Killing Endangered Key Deer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – South Florida federal prosecutors have charged Big Pine Key resident Wendy C. Kilheffer, 77, with violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by shooting and killing a key deer in November. 

Congress enacted the ESA to conserve threatened and endangered species, as well as the ecosystems upon which they depend. “Endangered species” means any species, or part thereof, which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The Florida Key deer (Odocoileus viginianus clavium) is included within the list of designated endangered species set forth in federal regulations.  

The defendant faces a possible term of imprisonment of up to one year if convicted and would also be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 and a period of supervised release of up to one year. 

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Resident Agent in Charge David Pharo, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), Office of Law Enforcement, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

FWS and officers of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated this case with support from the National Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., and the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald is prosecuting the case. 

An information is an accusation and a defendant is innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at


Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Updated December 22, 2022