More than five years ago, Deborah Parker found a newborn fawn abandoned in the woods near her 30-acre animal sanctuary in Vermilion, Ohio.
“I got her when she was still wet from being born,” Parker told WJW-TV in Cleveland. “The mother had three and the herd took off.”
Parker took in the deer she named “Baby” and has been caring for her — not as a wild animal but as a family pet — ever since.
But state wildlife authorities have reportedly ordered Parker to give up Baby.
In fact, she told WJW, a wildlife officer paid a visit this week to her St. Francis Animal Sanctuary and said “if I turn her over to them, I won’t be charged with anything and if I don’t turn her over, then they take it to court and I have to pay the costs and then she’ll be euthanized anyway. There was no options.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources considers the deer a wild animal, regardless of its upbringing.
“Tame deer could also pose a threat of disease transmission to the wild deer herd, humans and pets if released into the wild. For these reasons, unfortunately euthanasia is the best option,” the department said in a statement.
“She’d be so horrified if people came to hurt her,” Parker said, her voice breaking. “She’s never known pain a day in her life.”
Parker added that she’s hired a lawyer to stop the state from taking Baby away.
“She’s a family pet and they say it’s against the law,” she told WJW. “So I tried to save a life and it’s against the law and now they wanna come and kill her.”