Created on: February 02, 2013
An Indiana couple is facing criminal charges after they nursed a deer back to health from life-threatening injuries. Found on a porch injured in 2010, all the deer habitats were full, so the duo helped the deer heal on their own. Now they are in trouble with the law for taking care of the animal.
Jeff Counceller, a police officer, had found the deer, which had life-threatening injuries he said.
CBS News reported it was believed the deer's injuries were sustained from a coyote attack.
Being there was no place to send the deer to so she could rehabilitate since facilities were full, Counceller and his wife, Jennifer, built a pen for the deer in their backyard near the woods and named her "Dani". The intention was to set the deer free once she was able to manage on her own, reported NBC News.
"She would run around. She would play. We would feed her crack corn and deer chow and other things," Jeff Counceller told WTHR News (via NBC News). "Again, we knew someday that we needed to turn her loose."
Wildlife officials were not pleased when they learned about the couple keeping the deer on their own property. Officials also had determined the deer should be euthanized because it has been living around humans too long. The day she was due to be euthanized she reportedly escaped from her pen.
"I think she had help getting out, but I don't know anything about who or how," Jeff Counceller told local media. "But I can tell you the deer had probably 20 to 30 friends, human friends. She was very popular."
After state officials from the Department of Natural Resources found out about the deer being kept by the Councellers, it was determined the couple should be prosecuted for illegally keeping the deer. If convicted, they could be convicted of a misdemeanor charge of illegal possession of a white-tailed deer. If convicted, the couple faces 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Now public pressure is on Indiana officials to drop the charges against the couple. A Facebook group in support of the Councellers was created; it currently has close to 40,000 "Likes" of support. In addition, a petition was launched on Change.org, which is also garnering tens of thousands of signatures, and a defense fund for the couple is being raised.
USA Today reported that this situation has spurned a lot of backlash from both locals and people located in many other states and Canada. Many appear to indicate that while the law is the law, that sometimes discretion and common sense is needed.
"Yes it is the law but is it the best use of taxpayer dollars?" wrote Anita Jones Adams, of Pittsboro, Ind.
"Jaywalking is illegal but not enforced. Give me a freaking break, Pence," wrote Joe Monastro of Indiana University.
"Classic case of government waste," wrote Rob Brown, from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Whether or not officials will reconsider pressing charges against the Councellors has yet to be seen. A court date is currently set for March.
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