Woman Saves Orphaned Baby Deer and Now the State Wants to Kill Him

Here’s a heartwarming story about a woman who rescues an orphaned deer…but it may not have a happy ending. Although that can change, and it may. Here’s the complete story as I read it on the Dodo’s September 26th newsletter:

“A woman dedicated two years of her life to saving an orphaned deer — and now she’s trying to stop the state from killing him.

Back in 2013, Jodi Proger was driving down the highway when someone a few cars in front of her crashed into a mother deer. The deer died, and her days-old fawn was circling her body in a panic.

“He was running back and forth, back and forth,” Proger told The Dodo.

“I wasn’t gonna do it but I did it,” she said. And so she ran back, scooped the frightened little deer up, and took him home with her.

Proger, who lives on a 5-acre farm with her husband and horses, said there aren’t any deer sanctuaries in Ohio, so she knew she was his only chance. She raised the little fawn, whom she named Wheezer, on her own, feeding him every few hours for the first months of his life.

He likes to sleep indoors with the family, so around 10 p.m. every night he comes inside to get ready for bed. “He’ll climb up on the loveseat and he’ll watch a little TV and he’ll crash on the loveseat,” Proger said.

And Wheezer has bonded with the other family members as well. “Him and the dog will lie on the floor with each other,” Proger said. “He loves the cats — he licks them to death.”

“We’ve had him a little over two years with no problems, no complaints from any of our neighbors, nothing,” she added.

Sure enough, officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) showed up shortly after to tell Proger that she was violating the law by keeping Wheezer.

Their solution? Killing him.

Proger begged them to return to the office and pretend they saw nothing, but they refused. However, they left after an hour without taking the deer.

“Ohio has no sanctuaries whatsoever,” Proger said about the state’s handling of wildlife. “Their only thing is to come in, take them and kill them.”

“No one ever told me it was illegal to have a deer,” she added. “No one!”

She reached out to Ohio state senator Lou Gentile (D-30), who helped stall the ODNR. “He got the kill order off of Wheezer’s head, but they’re still debating what to do with me and Wheezer,” she said.

“I am just so amazed and so much in awe of the support I have received,” Proger said. “I am so, so grateful.”

“He’s very loving,” she said.

If you’d like to help, you can sign an Ohio SPCA petition asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other state officials to spare Wheezer’s life. You can also contact the governor’s office here.”

(end of Dodo story)

What a story it is!! I hope the committee that is working on this issue will grant Jodi Proger an exemption. I did sign the petition. Please do too if you are so inclined. At least that might spare his life.

He seems to be thriving in this homey situation, don’t you think? It’s not ideal for a wild animal–and I definitely don’t like the idea of the tether– after all, he should be able to run and jump. But it’s all this deer knows at this point. And he seems quite happy! Maybe they can find a deer sanctuary in another state that will take him since Ohio doesn’t have one. That would probably be ideal. Although I must say, he certainly seems to have a good life right now…

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Woman Saves Orphaned Baby Deer and Now the State Wants to Kill Him

  1. If he comes in and sleeps in the house, then he’s happy. I’ve read similar stories about it being illegal to “keep” wildlife, although the person has merely saved the life of the animal. We infringe on the places where the animals live. Then they have no place to go. One retailer at which I point my finger and shake my head is Wal-Mart. They built so many stores, then abandoned them, and built stores in other places–often on the edge of a town. Where are the deer and the other animals going? They run in the street and get hit by cars.


    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many displaced animals out there. You’re right: where do they go?? Their habitats are ripped away from them and they’re left to relocate. It’s very sad.


  2. Hi, dear Michele! I hope Wheezer will be spared. In a civilized society, flexibility is key. Special circumstances need to be acknowledged and handled as separate cases for the greater good. For every rule there are bound to be exceptions and this is obviously one. Wheezer’s caregivers should be granted an exemption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Shady. I think he has a pretty good life now and to tear him away from that would be cruel. Thanks for your thoughts on this matter…


  3. Pingback: Update on Wheezer the Deer: Possible Change in the Law? | Angels Bark

  4. I pray he gets an exemption because he is innocent. She raised him and cared for him as anyone would have in that situation, well, anyone who has the land and the heart. Should he be tethered..no. I wonder if another state that has sanctuaries could take him in. I wonder if he would thrive there but, if not, then they should let him stay but make it known to people not to do the same thing because some people may take young fawns away from their mother to have the same thing this lady has. Most people would not have the patience to care for a baby animal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel exactly like you do. The ideal situation would be a deer sanctuary so that he wouldn’t have to be tethered. But at least the tether is 100 foot, which is significant. Not enough though, ideally. If not a deer sanctuary then he should stay right where he is. These people obviously have huge hearts and they have showered this precious being with tons of love and tender loving care. I would love to be able to interact with a deer so intimately like these folks are able to.


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