Fri August 30, 2013
After Baby Deer Raid, DNR Proposes Rules Change On Wild Animals In Custody
The Department of Natural Resources is proposing a new approach to how it handles wild animals captured by people. The changes are in response to public outrage after a whitetail fawn nicknamed "Giggles" at an animal rescue was killed by agents of the Department of Natural Resources.
Some accused the DNR of being callous and using unnecessary force, but DNR Lands Division Administrator Kurt Thiede says under current state law, they had no other options. Since the fawn was in a Chronic Wasting Disease Zone, it couldn’t be set free and it couldn’t be rehabilitated.
Thiede says the DNR is proposing new policies that give the agency more leeway. “The best way to look at some of these policy changes,” he said, “... is basically giving the same options that we have available outside the CWD zones to the CWD zone.”
The changes would allow the DNR to set a healthy deer free anywhere in the state or bring it to a licensed rehabilitator if it is injured. Also, Thiede says, the DNR will now only be allowed to kill a captured deer if it is obviously sick and a danger to other wildlife. A final provision that needs legislative approval would allow a person to keep a deer if they prove it’s disease free, have a proper pen and pay hundreds of dollars in fees.
“We’re saying - under those instances - that you’d be able to keep it, but I think it’s unfair to say that this opens up the door for anyone that wants to keep an animal to just simply do it,” Thiede said, “because it would remain an illegal activity.”
The DNR’s main message: If you find an animal you think has been abandoned, leave it alone, because its mother is likely nearby.