Overwhelmed by what he saw as the idiocy of a recent complaint to the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen felt compelled to author an appropriate response after being asked to investigate whether a hunting lodge owner was allowing patrons to defecate in the woods.
"We have had some delay in our investigation of the incidents alleged in the complaint which you kindly forwarded to us," Judge Burkeen wrote in his investigation report to TCEQ. "The problem is, we have recently had a rash of reports of cows, horses, sheep and goats defecating at will in pastures throughout the county."
TCEQ received the complaint March 9, which alleged Thornton resident David Cousins had been leasing out a hunting cabin that had no bathroom, forcing hunters to void their bowels behind a tree.
A week later, the complaint was assigned to Judge Burkeen, who comically responded by writing in his investigative report that on top of hunters and farm animals, "we suspect that wild hogs, deer and all sorts of other animals are defecating without even trying to find a proper facility.
"In addition, I have personal proof on my windshield of a mischievous bird defecating in flight. The culprit flew away, but I did get a description. It was red. The gift it left was white."
In phone interview with the Southeast Texas Record, Judge Burkeen said his reply to TCEQ, which has become something of an Internet sensation, has inspired countless people, including land owners and even politicians from all over the nation, to call him in support.
"It's all been positive," said Judge Burkeen. "Citizens that have had to deal with state agencies were especially (entertained)."
He added that even some state agency officials were tickled.
However, according to his reply, Judge Burkeen's investigation is not over.
"In order to complete our investigation, I must ask, we should inquire into urination, or only defecation?" he wrote.
"I strongly believe that both are taking place, since hunters have long been suspected of taking a good amount of liquid refreshments with them into the woods. Also, we are collecting samples of the activities of these diabolical, defecating reprobates. Should we send these to you, or directly to Austin?"
Judge Burkeen concludes the TCEQ response by saying, "Lastly, please allow us to handle this at the local level, and do not involve the federal government. When it comes to matters of excessive defecation, Washington bureaucrats would only add to our misery.
'Don't Mess in Texas.'"
Judge Burkeen told the Record that the hunting lodge owner has since installed a bathroom, but that he is no longer following up on whether hunters are choosing to use the toilet or bushes.