VERMILION, Ohio– A Vermilion woman is in danger of having her pet deer euthanized by state wildlife authorities. Deborah Parker says the deer is a family pet, but state laws say otherwise.
"She'd be so horrified if people came to hurt her. She's never known pain a day in her life," said Parker, director of St. Francis Animal Sanctuary.
Parker said that this week, an Ohio wildlife officer came to her 30-acre animal sanctuary in Vermilion and ordered her to give up her deer named Baby. "He said that 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," said Parker, who is clearly distressed by the order.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources considers the deer to be a wild animal. They sent FOX 8 a statement: "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."
Parker has been caring for Baby for more than five years after the fawn was abandoned and found in the nearby woods. "I got her when she was still wet from being born. The mother had three and the herd took off," said the sanctuary director.
Parker said she never considered Baby to be a wild animal, just a deer she's grown to love like all the pets she cares for. "She's a family pet and they say it's against the law so I tried to save a life and it's against the law and now they wanna come and kill her," said Parker.
Parker said she's hired a lawyer to stop ODNR from taking away the deer.