In Ulysses, Kansas, three local game wardens entered the private home of the Mcgaughey family on December 19 and shot a pet deer in the head four times in front of her caretakers. To the family, the doe, dubbed Faline, was tame but free and had followed them home almost two years ago when she was less than a year-old.
According to the Wichita Eagle, wildlife authorities contend a socialized wild animal can harm people and spread disease to other animals. Mark Rankin, a law enforcement officer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stated his officers had acted appropriately and in the interest of public safety. The family, however doesn’t agree and are devastated by the loss of the pet deer and the heartless way she was killed.
“The deer was unlawfully possessed, and there is no permit available to hold a wild-caught deer as a pet in the state of Kansas,” said Rankin.
Faline wasn’t in any way a wild animal that had ever been kept against her will. According to Taryn Mcgaughey, the daughter of the family who fostered the deer, Faline had followed her mom, Kim, home to their six acre farm. Kim and Faline instantly bonded – no matter how strange that may have sounded, but the doe came and went at will, and Kim was assured by a local game warden that as long as the doe was not confined, all was legal and acceptable. As Kim and Faline became even more emotionally connected, Kim would knit collars on the doe so hunters wouldn’t kill her, and the gentle animal would often play with her young son.
“She was house trained. She would come into the house behind me, sleep on the floor while I watched TV,” Kim told the commission on Thursday at a public meeting in the city of Emporia.
And all was well until Faline went missing in December and the family posted on Facebook asking for help to find the doe. That afternoon the game wardens arrived at Kim Mcgaughey’s workplace and issued her a ticket for keeping a wild animal. Immediately Kim called three zoos to help place the deer, but before anyone could respond the wardens came to her home, petted Faline on top of her head and repeatedly shot her dead.
Local wildlife organizations have questioned why Faline had to be killed; stating experiences like this can help raise wildlife awareness and the chances of the doe spreading disease were very low. Meanwhile, the family insisted Faline could have been relocated to a wildlife sanctuary, and the gentle deer who thought she was a dog and who would knock her head on the family’s home and bleat to come in, is dead after one of the ranger’s who shot her stated when Kim asked if he was going to shoot the doe in the head stated:
“Yeah, I am…. it’s the most humane way to shut her down – to solve the problem.”
Rest in peace Faline. Photos of pet deer courtesy of Taryn Mcgaughey.
What do you think?