Ohio Woman Fights to Keep the State from Killing Rescued Deer

WCPN stock photo by Paul Cox.
WCPN stock photo by Paul Cox.

Mount Vernon resident Carol Deyo has always liked animals. So when the former vet tech found an injured baby deer on her property, her instincts kicked in.

"He got run over by a sickle bar mower and had his rear leg and some of his undercarriage cut off," she said. "So I called Ohio Department of Wildlife, and they said there was no more rescue on deer. But the girl that answered the phone...I said I could sew him up because I had been a surgical vet tech for years…but I said I don’t have anything to sew him with. She says, 'Well, you can sew him with tail hair out of a horse.'...Nothing was mentioned about destroying him or anything...I have horses so I the tail hair out of a horse and I cleaned him all out and sewed him together and well he survived."

Deyo named the fawn Trooper and he has become her pet. He stays in her yard along with another baby deer she rescued -- one that was sick, suffering from dehydration and seizures. It had crawled up under a vehicle in a nearby parking lot. She nursed it back to health, too.

Now both of these deer live on her property. They are domesticated. And Deyo says all was well and good until a state division of wildlife officer knocked on her door in November, saying an anonymous complaint had been filed, and that the state would have to kill the deer under state law.

"They want to send a crew out and kill them and throw them on the refuse pile in Columbus," she said. "That’s their policy. It’s a law against taking wildlife out of the wild, but it's a policy to kill them."

Deyo says she understands the state law is in place to keep people from removing deer from their natural wildlife habitat. But she says didn’t take either of the deer out of the wild. One came onto her property and the other was found nearby in a parking lot.

And she says if she had ordered those deer over the internet, she could have been given a permit to keep them for educational purposes.

Deyo has an attorney who is working to get the state to issue permits for the deer but she says, so far, that’s not happening.

"Could you imagine a baby deer laying there, it could take up to four or five days and it would be full of maggots?" she said. "I mean, there’s no compassion in this whole thing, that’s the worst."

Deyo is taking her fight to the public. She’s started a Facebook page for the deer and is circulating an online petition among Ohioans that she plans to present to elected officials, asking them to issue permits for the deer. So far, more than 2,000 people have signed the petition.

The Ohio Department of Wildlife’s Bethany McCorkle says she couldn’t go on tape for this story, but in a written statement, she says Ohio law does not permit people to remove wild animals from the wild and keep them as pets. The written statement goes on to advise anyone who finds an injured deer to call the department of wildlife.

That’s where Deyo says she called in the first place and was given instructions on how to care for the injured fawn.

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