Fight Continues Over Domesticated Deer

Department of Natural Resources officials and a Dodge County family are at another impasse in regards to keeping their fawn.

The Department is calling for the Smith family to send the deer to a rehab center. An option they won't accept.

Michael Smith and the rest of his family took in the now year and a half old fawn after a call from a farmer early this year. "Bambi and her sister had crawled into a fence corral for horses her mother had been killed by a car a couple days before this."

Heather Gottschalk from the DNR says, "Our laws are really strict that you can't possess a deer taken from the wild."

In May, a local DNR warden came to check “Bambi” out and the confusion began. Gottschalk explains that "when I orginially received the complaint and spoke with Mr. Smith I informed him I didn't want the deer to leave the property until arrangements could be made to remove the deer."

Smith says that conversation also involved a way for the deer to stay on the farm. "After talking with Heather, she said that because the deer couldn't be rehabilitated we would see you could get some kind of permit to keep her here, that if you build up a fence like we have like they ask."

Gottschalk says, "At no time were they ever told they would permanantly be able to keep the deer. I think there is some confusion there. Meantime Saturday, the mail delivered an option for the Smith family. "We had a meeting with our administration and we presented them with a letter that has some options on keeping the deer alive obviously removing it from their property but keeping it alive."

Smith does not think it's not much of an option. "The only option we got is to move her down to Walworth County. Walworth County has CWD already."

The people on both sides of the fence say they want a safe resolution. The DNR says, "We would like to handle this in a manner that we hope will make everybody happy, adhere to our laws and protect the wild and domesticated deer herds." Smith on the other hand says, "There is no rehab in their hearts and we can give them heart like all we gave them.

The Smith family has contacted their lawyer to file an injunction to keep the DNR from taking the deer away.


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