The Councellers, Jeff and Jennifer, were willing and able to save a very young injured baby deer. They found it hurt, abandoned, cold and scared near their home in Indiana.
The fawn had taken refuge on a neighbor’s porch where it was suffering with puncture wounds, possibly caused by bites, and unable to stand up. The wounds had become infected and maggots were invading the sores. The outlook for the little creature was pretty bleak.
This was in 2010. The Councellers slowly and diligently nursed the young fawn back to soundness and health. Animal lovers everywhere would applaud this effort.
But there is so much more –
They didn’t have a permit to raise a white tail. Well, it’s not very likely that any “John Q. Public” individual would just happen to have a permit. Because the Councellers did not have such a permit, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of Indiana pursued prosecution. Conviction might mean a fine and up to 60 days in prison.
It is important to note that the couple was playing by the rules and didn’t just ignore responsibility nor did they disregard the law – they called the DNR. Their inquiry was not met with enthusiasm and, for that matter, a very barbaric solution –
“Return the deer to the wild and let nature take its course.”
Following this official’s suggestion meant a certain death of starvation or predation for an innocent young being. In good conscience, the Councellers were hard-pressed to condemn the fawn to certain death. They opted instead to place Dani into an animal rescue. They also tried several petting zoos and deer farms yet no one and no group and no zoo and no rescue assisted.
By now Dani had rallied and showed progress. What would you have done? What could they do? Of course, they began the process of restoring Dani’s health, vitality, will to live, and nursed her back to health. Most caring people would say “Bravo!”
Oh yes – the rules! There are many rules, and more often than not, they involve serious matters – thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, thou shall not kidnap, rape, molest, hurt, harm, or break the rules of the road. Thou shall not poach. How frequently have we seen the guilty perpetrators walk, get a lighter sentence, get a pardon from the president or governors, or get “probation” and molest again? On the scale of wrongdoers, where does this couple fit? They don’t.
Give all of us in the United States of America a break. Prosecute those who harm people and (even) animals, not those who save them. The DNR should drop these charges and say thank you to the Councellors for saving an innocent life, trying so hard to find help, and being responsible enough to care about lesser creatures.
The DNR started an investigation into this saving of a white tail fawn. Interestingly, an official of DNR recommended a permit for wild animal rehabilitation. And, in short order, the DNR denied the application. Instead, they decreed that the deer would have to be killed. What?
Believe it or not, the DNR dispatched an official to kill Dani. When that official found the deer escaped through an open gate, this became a case and was assigned to a prosecutor. Now Jeff and Jennifer Counceller have been charged with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer.
A petition is circulating on the Web and on Facebook inviting the public to join in the fight to stop these charges. Hopefully, caring people everywhere will sign the petition, started by concerned John Waudby from Indianapolis. Waudby and tens of thousands do not believe the Councellers deserve to go to jail and DNR should drop all charges against them.
Many John Q. Public Americans believe DNR should pursue animal abusers, poachers and lawbreakers.
The writer has listed some YouTube videos below and invites everyone to watch them for various reasons including the fact that there are white tails being raised (even for profit), in captivity, being rescued, being raised, etc., and not necessarily by rehabilitation professionals.
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JUST LEARNED THIS: http://www.theindychannel.com/video - The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is asking charges be dismissed against a couple who nursed an injured baby deer back to health. WRITER SEEKING CONFIRMATION