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.
(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?