A story in our area has gained national attention...You've probably heard or read about it.
Several years ago a couple found a fawn by the side of the road, injured and unable to walk. They gathered her up, took her to the vet, and paid for corrective surgeries on her legs and hooves so that she would be able to walk.
They kept the fawn, allowing it to recuperate. Snowball has been in their possession ever since. She has had one offspring, a buck (who is now a year old), which the couple also kept.
A few days ago they were turned in to the state for harboring a wild animal. They believe that a bitter family member made the call, and in no time at all wildlife officials were at their door confiscating the animals. Tearful pleadings and long negotiations did nothing. The animals were darted and hauled away, and are now in state custody.
Though it is illegal to keep a wild animal in this state, and I agree that the deer rightfully should have been taken to a wildlife rehab facility in the beginning, one does wonder if the animal had been taken in, would she have been allowed to live in the condition she was in? Chances are that the state would have euthanized her at that time, a wildlife rehab, probably not, but we'll never know. Because of this couple, their compassion and their time, the doe was given a chance to live.
That leaves the question...What is the right thing to do at this point?
Now that both animals are tamed beyond being able to return to the wild, imo, they should either be returned the family, or taken to a refuge. In the beginning euthanasia had been discussed, which resulted in outrage from the public, as well as from the Oregon Humane Society.
Though the Humane Society agreed that the couple illegally kept a wild animal, they also stated that at this point it's about what's best for both animals.
It's a very sad situation for this couple, and for the deer.
As of the last report - Due to public pressure euthanasia is no longer a consideration. The state is currently looking for a facility to take both animals, and there's still the slim chance that the doe could be returned to the couple. The buck will not be, as he's considered too aggressive and dangerous.
To me the best choice seems to return Snowball to the only family she's ever known. She could remain 'wild', but still have her support system. The buck is young. If given to a wildlife facility and allowed time to adjust, he could live with other herds.
Time will tell.
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