An Indiana couple's good deed rescuing a wounded baby deer could land them in jail with thousands of dollars in fines, the Indianapolis Star reported
State officials charged Jeff Counceller, a police officer, and his wife Jennifer, with a misdemeanor for unlawful possession of a deer they rescued more than two years ago, ABC News reported. The charge is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
The Councellers found the animal curled up on a neighbor's porch, with open wounds on its backside more than two years ago. They brought the deer home, named it "Little Orphan Dani" and nursed it back to health.
The couple said an officer from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources stopped by their home this summer and discovered the deer, according to ABC News. The department wanted to euthanize Dani, saying she might be dangerous and a threat to people.
"I was devastated," Jennifer Counceller told ABC News. "I spent a year and several months nursing her into adulthood, getting to the point where she was able to go out on her own."
On the day Dani was to be put down, the deer was nowhere to be found. The Councellers claim she mysteriously escaped from their backyard.
Though the animal has been returned to the wild, the Councellers still face legal consequences for their actions.
The case has drawn national attention, with roughly 6,000 people "liking" a Facebook page devoted to dropping the charges against the Councellers.
There's also a petition drive and even a legal defense fund that's raised more than $500, according to the Indianapolis Star.
"People are outraged at the DNR and that the government has nothing better to do than harass these people," John Waudby, an Indianapolis man who created the Facebook page, told the Star. "Anybody in their right mind would have done the same thing."
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.
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