Couple fined for rescuing baby deer

deer

Indiana couple fights charges over rescuing injured baby deer

Fox News: Jeff Counceller says a dying fawn he found on someone’s porch three years ago surely wouldn’t have lived had he and his wife not nursed it back to health on their eastern Indiana farm. The Connersville police officer insists they had no clue that they could be breaking the law.

The couple’s good deed put them at odds with the state Department of Natural  Resources, and prosecutors earlier this month charged Jeff and Jennifer Counceller with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, a misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Counceller said they plan to fight the charges, even though it might be cheaper and easier to just pay the fine. If their burgeoning legion of online  supporters is any indication, public opinion is very much on the couple’s  side.

Counceller told The Indianapolis Star that he found the deer in 2010 curled  up on a front porch with maggot-infested puncture wounds, so he brought it back to his family’s 17-acre farm to try to save it. The couple named the fawn Dani and kept it in a fenced enclosure.

Jeff Counceller said he and his wife didn’t know it was illegal to keep the deer, and that returning it to the wild when they were told to do so “would have  been a death sentence.”

A probable cause affidavit said Jennifer Counceller told a conservation officer that she eventually realized she needed a permit to keep the deer, but didn’t contact officials because she realized they would “put it down.”

Jeff Counceller didn’t immediately respond to a Tuesday phone message left by  The Associated Press seeking comment. Jennifer Counceller’s voicemail wasn’t  accepting new messages.

DNR spokesman Lt. Bill Browne said the agency had received a lot of phone  calls and email about the charges, but he declined to comment about the case and instead referred the AP to the agency’s claims in the court documents.

The deer’s story went viral online this week after a sympathetic Indianapolis  man, John Waudby, set up a Facebook page to rally support for the  Councellers.

“I heard about it early Saturday morning when I got home,” said Waudby, a  41-year-old warehouse worker. “I saw it on the news and was outraged. I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. They’re not criminals. They were trying to do the right thing,” he  added.

The Facebook page, “Drop Charges Against Connersville Police Officer,” had  more than 15,000 “likes” by mid-afternoon Tuesday and was growing by about 1,000  an hour. Waudby said he had hoped to reach perhaps 1,000 local people to put  pressure on prosecutors to drop the charges, but was receiving responses from as  far away as Argentina and Australia. He was also circulating an online petition and by noon, the petition had topped 8,000 signatures. More than 135 people had  signed up online to attend the Councellers’ trial on March 7 in Fayette  County.

“It’s like a wildfire that you just can’t stop at this point,” Waudby said,  adding that he’s only slept for about 10 hours, total, in the three days since  launching his online campaign.

The Councellers said they had intended to release the deer once it was strong enough to survive on its own. They tried to find it a home at animal rescue operations, petting zoos and deer farms, but no one would take it. According to  court records, Jeff Counceller texted a conservation officer and urged DNR not  to kill the deer, saying “it’s not the deer’s fault.”

Last summer, the deer vanished on the day that the DNR planned to euthanize  it, following the denial of the couple’s request for a rescue permit.

The DNR website includes a section on wildlife rehabilitation that warns people who find wild animals to make sure they are really abandoned and if they are, to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. The closest rehabilitators to  Connersville are in neighboring Wayne County, according to a list on the  website.

Removing wildlife from the environment is prohibited by state regulations without a proper handling permit,” the DNR website warns, adding that most young  animals that appear to be abandoned don’t require help. “Wildlife can carry diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans, it is best to leave  them alone,” the website adds.

Kathleen Hershey, president of Utopia Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation center near Hope in south-central Indiana, said even though the Councellers  meant well, it’s bad for a deer to become acclimated to humans because they can  become too trusting and easy prey for hunters.

“They have real serious social needs, and you can’t just raise a deer. They have to be in with others of their kind,” she said. “It has to learn how to  live in a herd and that’s where its safety is.”

Most of the Facebook posts expressed disbelief that the couple could face  charges for what was perceived as a good deed, but some comments weren’t so  sympathetic.

One post pointed out that the couple had exposed themselves, their children  and their pets to disease carried by deer, and that the local deer population could be infected now that the animal is free.

Although lawyer’s fees would be more expensive than paying the fine, the  Councellers said they plan to fight the charge. “Sometimes, it’s not always about the DNR laws,” Jennifer Counceller told the  Star. “Sometimes it’s about common sense and what’s right in God’s eyes. And that’s what I’m going to stand for.”

Waudby said he plans to attend the Councellers’ court hearings, “and I’m  bringing thousands of people with me.”

If DNR was going to put the deer down and the Councellers couldn’t find anyone to take it, what’s the problem with them keeping it on their farm? Remember the good ol’ days when people were able to help one another (and animals) without big brother trying to control us? Those days are long gone, unfortunately.

DCG

10 responses to “Couple fined for rescuing baby deer

  1. How did Indiana’s insane bureaucratic Dept of Natural Resources find out about Jeff and Jennifer Counceller’s rescue? Who snitched on this kind-hearted couple?

    How long are Americans going to tolerate this tyranny?

    ENOUGH!!!!

  2. I hope you’ll read this article in Blue Ridge Country Magazine called ” A Love Affair With Mimi.” It is about a couple in NC who rescued a fawn. Is everyone insane in Indiana? I like what the Counceller’s did to rescue the deer. Government is out of control.

  3. This is very concerning and sounds like its a part of the UN Agenda 21 nonsense that is under the radar.

  4. Yer guv’mint knows what’s good for you. I think you just don’t unnerstand. If it weren’t the right thing to do yer guv’mint wouldn’t tell you to do it. Yer guv’mit is your new Momma and only wants what is best for you!!

  5. This to me shows again that the values most supposed organizations in connection with certain aspects of our government and UN are hypocritical. They say it is for the good of the world and to protect animals/environment yet they are creating the very problems and constantly show us they don’t value life beyond their own as elite oligarchy that has infiltrated our nation from years ago.

    What next? Should I worry because a gorgeous cotton tail rabbit took up residence under my shed in the backyard here in TX. Between the fires last year and development in areas near us where they are losing their homes/forced out for apartments, retail, etc. it is no wonder he is at my house. We leave him be and we share some of our organic produce with him that we know he would eat as well as put water out for him. I asked for a rabbit my whole childhood. I am 33 and Jesus blessed me with a great gift whom I enjoy watching from inside my house when he grazes in my backyard.

    • You are right on target, when you talk about government and the UN. Contact a local Tea Party, as most of them are now looking at educating citizens on how local government is a part of this, either knowingly, or not.

      • Thankfully my local mayor that we elected realized what Agenda 21 is and our city wants NOTHING to do with it, but we are right outside Austin, TX whom signed on. I can see the changes already taking place when you leave our city and enter Austin. I was so thankful that my cities mayor saw through Agenda 21, but it is still in my backyard in the neighboring city which means there is still a lot of work to do educating others locally.

  6. Gov’t is always right peons, worship it! (That’s modern left/libertard-influenced government’s message.)

  7. The Socialist government needs to stay the HELL out of our business and after the Reveloution all these socialist will be GONE! Along with their DemocRATIC Socialist Judges, Lawyers and all the crooks that has tried to destroy our country! Semper Fi.

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