June 06, 2012
Pet Deer Makes 50-Mile Journey Home After Being Placed in Wild
By Chad Love
Ever read The Incredible Journey? Although the book is fiction, we've all heard the amazing but true stories of pets making their own incredible journeys back to their homes and masters, but they almost always involve domesticated animals like dogs and cats. But what about a pet deer? Would a doe raised by humans and then separated make its way back to its family, or slowly revert to wildness? In this case, it's the former.
From this story on wkrg.com:
Kenneth Webster has what you would call a "unique" family pet. Her name is Bambi, and yes, she's a deer. "I found her on the side of Highway 43 lying beside her mother," said Webster. The mother was killed by a car. "I thought she was dead too until I walked up to her and she picked her head up." That was four years ago.
Bambi's been part of the family ever since, living comfortably in their fenced-in yard in Wilmer. "She gets 50 dollars a week worth of food, if not more," Webster said, describing the doe's diet of fresh fruit, grains, and water. There's only one problem. Keeping wild animals as pets is illegal in Alabama. "Somebody called and reported seeing her," said Webster. Keith Gauldin, a Wildlife Biologist at the Alabama Department of Natural Resources enforced the law. He tranquilized Bambi, and they dropped her off at a sort of "deer sanctuary" fifty miles away on Mason Ferry Road.
And here's where the story gets interesting, because apparently Bambi didn't much care for her new digs, so she walked the route back home. All 50 miles of it. It took her two weeks, but eventually Bambi showed up right back in Kevin Webster's yard, scratched, skinny, but alive. But in the eyes of the law, Webster is still breaking the law, so the state of Alabama plans to confiscate the doe once again.
From the story: "We have a regulation in place that prohibits that, that keeps the general public from keeping any species of wildlife in captivity, so, unfortunately the law is the law," said Gauldin..."Gauldin says they plan to enforce the law and confiscate Bambi once again. This time, they may take it someplace different."
Webster says Bambi can’t survive on her own and wishes the state of Alabama would just leave her alone.
From the story: "You can see the scratches on her from the travel," said Bambi's owner. "I don't know what all she went through, and only God knows what all she went through to make it back, but she made it back, so why not leave her alone?" said Webster.
So should the state turn a blind eye to this obviously domesticated doe, or is the law the law? What say you? To paraphrase The Clash, should she stay or should she go?