Two police officers in upstate New York are being investigated over allegations that they used a golf cart to run down and run over a golf course groundhog, NBC reports. The incident took place during a union event for the Rensselaer City Police Department at the Frear Park golf course in Troy, according to the Times Union. Officer Tyler Sammon allegedly ran over the groundhog. Officer Mike Spath was the passenger. Both have been placed on paid leave. Before driving over the animal, Sammon chased it until it could no longer run, witnesses say. The pair also allegedly ran over tee boxes and drove through ropes. Rensselaer Police Chief Rick Fusco tells WNYT that he finds the whole thing "really bothersome," adding, "There is no room for a police officer to continue to be a police officer if in fact he did this, if he intentionally killed an animal."
Groundhogs are not protected by state law, per the Chicago Tribune. However, the city of Troy prohibits killing them at the park. "They don't come after you, they stay on the edge of the woods. Once in a while they come out, they don't bother anybody," one Frear Park golfer tells WNYT, adding that the officers' alleged behavior is "crazy." If the allegations pan out, Fusco says he'll recommend that the two officers get the boot, telling the Times Union, "There is no room in any police agency for a person like this to be carrying a badge and a gun." Regardless of the outcome of the internal investigation, the Rensselaer police union will have to find a new place to hold its annual golf tournament. "We will ban this organization," a Troy City Council member tells WNYT. (Read more New York state stories.)