Indiana Couple Faces Charges for Saving Dying Fawn's Life

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An Indiana couple is standing up to the law after being told it was illegal for them to rescue and nurse back to health a dying fawn who had been attacked by coyotes, reports the Daily Mail U.K.

Two years ago, Jeff Counceller found the baby deer in dire straits, badly wounded and unable to stand. Counceller brought his wife, Jennifer, a registered nurse to see the animal. "I could feel all of the open wounds all along her back side and she wouldn't stand up," Jennifer Counceller said. The fawn's wounds appeared to be the result of an attack from another animal, possibly a coyote.

The Councellers didn't want to let the young animal die a protracted and painful death, but when they contacted the state's Department of Natural Resources for assistance, they were advised to do just that: leave the animal alone and let nature take its course. Instead, the couple brought the fawn home with them to care for it and save its life. They named the animal Little Orphan Dani.

Now, after a six-month investigation, the Councellers are being charged with the misdemeanor crime of possessing a white-tailed deer, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The couple claimed they didn't know it was illegal to bring the deer home, and were told their only option was to euthanize the animal, because it posed a safety risk. But when the time came to put Dani down, the Councellers found her enclosure open and the deer gone.

Jennifer Counceller's 80-year-old father is suspected of setting Dani free, but the couple says they don't know for sure who is responsible, because Dani had so many friends in their community. "She was very popular," Jeff Counceller said.

Now the Councellers are fighting the charges in court, even though doing so will likely cost them far more than simply paying the fine. It's the principal of the thing, they claim. "
No matter what the law is, we did what was right for the animal," Jennifer Counceller said.


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I would have done the same thing, legal or not. I agree with mnbrasca, set up a paypal account, to help them pay for legal fees. I bet a LOT of people will kick in a few bucks, I know I would. Saving a life is more important. They pick & choose the animals they want to save, like whales, dolphins...why not save a scared little fawn??

January 31 2013 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The fact that someone actually thought of charging these people is an idiot much less they did. It follows that old saying no good deed goes unpunished. If they had trapped/hunted/baited the animal to get it home that would be one thing but to help the injured critter to which they saved its life to be charged criminally for doing so is just absurd.

January 31 2013 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As noble as the task of saving the fawn was, the balance of nature should not be interrupted as we humans so often do. The animal was meant to be part of the natural food chain.

January 31 2013 at 9:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lucy and Dennis

I stand with the couple and the good deed they did.

January 31 2013 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is how screwed up the judicial system has become in the US.... You get a slap on the wrist & a very small fine (sometimes not even that!) for abusing or torturing a Doug or cat,
But if you help an animal, save it from a guaranteed horrific death, & be punished!
I don't care about the " oh it's a wild animal, that's what happens... BS, it's a living breathing creature that feels fear & pain, & deserves better. And if the lazy A--es. Couldn't be bothered to go do the decent thing, & mercifully put it to sleep themselves, then don't go apes--t when some one else does what you SHOULD have done yourselves! And hopefully this idiocy will be thrown out of court as a waste of time & tax payer dollars.

January 31 2013 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melissa Krepp here is the funding page set up to help them with fees

January 31 2013 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hey - if you have to take this to court, set up a paypal link or an address or something - maybe on a facebook page for contributions - I'd kick in a couple bucks to help with your legal fees, because I would have done the same thing - there's law and then there's equity - sometimes whats right may not be legal - but you do it anyway because it's right

January 30 2013 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mnbrasca's comment

I'm with you on this one. I don't have much, but I will send all I can.

January 31 2013 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


January 30 2013 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
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