In yet another story of well-intentioned individuals attempting to keep a wild animal as a pet, Kansas wildlife officials are now in hot water after they shot and killed a female mule deer in rural Kansas.

Apparently part of the Mcgaughey family in Ulysses, Kansas for about 22 months, the two-year old mule deer known by the family as “Faline”, the fictional love interest in Disney’s Bambi cartoon, arrived one day and chose to stay with the family.

“Her being domesticated was her own doing,” Mcgaughey told The Wichita Eagle. “She chose to stay. I never kept her from going away and being with other deer.”
A complaint was filed in early December after Mcgaughey left a post on Facebook asking if anyone had seen the animal after she didn’t come home for a few days.  Shortly after, game wardens visited Kim Mcgaughey at her workplace and issued her a ticket for “unlawful possession of wildlife without a permit.”

In addition to being a violation of the law in the state of Kansas, keeping a wild animal as a pet also comes with a variety of risks.  These animals can often inflict harm upon their caregivers and have potential for spreading diseases such as chronic wasting disease to livestock and other deer.

“In these cases our officers have to decide what options there are. That might be to relocate the animal, release it back into the wild or take it to some kind of rehab facility,” said Mark Rankin, law enforcement assistant director for the wildlife department. “Unfortunately once they’ve become imprinted on people, (euthanasia) is almost always the final outcome. Our officers on the scene felt (shooting the deer) was about their only option.”

While the Mcgaughey family questions the rush, officers arrived at her residence and attempted to safely capture the deer.  Without any success, it was determined that capture was no longer possible or safe for the officers involved, officers then decided that the animal would have to be euthanized, as a veterinarian was not available to tranquilize the animal.

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Kansas wildlife officers on the Mcgaughey property

The animal was shot on the family’s property after officers corralled the animal into a safe location for euthanizing.  While the decision was not an easy one, Wildlife and Parks secretary Robin Jennison stands by the decision of the officers on the scene.

“All of our people have a real heart for wildlife. I can’t imagine any of our employees enjoying something like this,” Jennison said. “These things are never easy, but I think we really need to come up with policy that better handles these kinds of things.”


H/T:  The Wichita Eagle