Jefferson County woman learns fate of pet deer - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Jefferson County woman learns fate of pet deer

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JEFFERSON CO. -- A Jefferson County woman has received good news about the fate of her pet deer.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has granted Rhonda Crawford to the ability to keep her two pet deer, Jude and Dude, after a legal battle over ownership rights. Crawford and her family have been caring for the deer for the past five years.

In June, the IDNR told Crawford she was keeping the deer illegally, and gave her the option of either turning them over to a licensed wildlife rehab facility or having them put down.

In a letter to Crawford sent Friday, IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal said the following:

After a review of your situation, we have decided to allow the two white-tailed deer in your possession to remain in your care until the end of their natural lives. Since they have been in captivity for so long, releasing them into the wild is not an option.

I recognize the potential for confusion regarding what is allowable under the Wild Game and Bird Breeder License. To prevent this problem from recurring, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will strengthen the language on its permit applications to clarify that wild deer are not allowed to be possessed with this permit. Under the law, deer can only be obtained from captive herds, not from the wild. I also want to be clear that this is a one-time exemption. Under no circumstances are you acquire any additional deer from the wild. You also may not move these two deer to any other location.

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