MAHNOMEN, Minn. - Prosecution has been suspended in the case of a Moorhead man accused in Mahnomen County District Court of using his pontoon to prevent a swimming deer from reaching shore, resulting in the deer drowning.

Steven W. Timm, 56, had faced one count of overworking or mistreating animals and two counts of using a motor vehicle to chase wild animals stemming from an incident in September on Tulaby Lake in Mahnomen County.

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According to court documents, two witnesses told authorities they saw a deer swimming in the lake heading toward the shore. Before the deer could reach the shore, the witnesses said they saw a pontoon start up and head for the deer, cutting it off from shore.

One witness said the pontoon circled the deer, preventing it from reaching the shore and that the pontoon appeared to speed up and follow the deer as it swam.

The other witness said he saw the pontoon drive alongside the deer, between the deer and the shore, before the pontoon drove in front of the deer, causing the animal to swim farther into the lake.

The deer drowned shortly thereafter.

When a conservation officer talked to the operator of the pontoon, identified in court papers as Timm, Timm said he was fishing when he noticed something swimming and he drove his pontoon to investigate.

Timm said when he got near the deer it began to swim farther out in the lake. He said he drove the pontoon between the deer and shore while trying to get around the front of the deer to turn it back to shore.

An agreement approved by the court last week states that prosecution of the case will be suspended for six months, after which the case will be dismissed if no similar offenses are committed.

The agreement required Timm to pay $500 in restitution.

The wording of the agreement states that both parties “believe the benefits to society from rehabilitation (the primary goal of this agreement) outweigh any harm to society from suspending criminal prosecution.”