An Indiana couple faces jail time for nursing a near-dead deer back to health, in apparent violation of the state’s Department of Natural Resources rules for returning wild animals to the forest.
The couple — Jeff Counceller, a police officer, and his wife, Jennifer — found the deer in 2010 on a porch, curled into a ball, with maggot-filled puncture wounds, the Associated Press reported. The two cared for the animal on their 17-acre Connersville home.
State conservation officers recently visited the home and discovered the deer, according to ABC News. The couple was subsequently charged with illegal possession of a deer.
The crime’s a misdemeanor in Indiana, but carries a jail sentence of up to 60 days and $2,000 in fines, according to the ABC report.
The Councellers said an Indiana Conservation Officer stopped by their home and discovered the deer this past summer. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources wanted to euthanize Dani, saying she might be dangerous and a threat to people.
On the day Dani was to be put down, the Councellers said she inexplicably escaped from their backyard. Even though Dani disappeared back into the wild, the Councellers’ legal problems didn’t go with the fawn.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said it couldn’t comment on pending litigation but that it did discourage people from taking in injured wildlife. This case could go to court next month, and if charges aren’t dropped, it will be left for a jury to decide whether the Councellers broke the law.
The Councellers’ case could go to court next month.