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BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission confiscated a white-tailed deer Friday.
According to a press release, the deer was being illegally held at a Burke County home. The homeowner was issued a citation.
The deer has lived in a 10-foot by 12-foot chainlink pen since it was captured as a fawn.
Officials say due to circumstances surrounding the case, the deer was anesthetized and transferred to an educational facility that is licensed to hold and care for deer in captivity. The circumstances include what officials call "verifiable knowledge of the origin of the deer locally within Burke County and no opportunity for the deer to have been in contact with wild deer during its life in captivity."
"Typically, taking an animal from the wild ultimately leads to an unfortunate end for the animal because of potential impacts resulting from human habituation and spread of disease," said Dr. David Cobb, chief of the Division of Wildlife Management for the Commission.
"Illegally held captive deer often must be euthanized in order to protect free-ranging animals from disease and to reduce the threat of serious injury to the public from human-habituated deer. However, due to the special circumstances in this case, this deer was taken to a licensed facility where it may be allowed to remain."
Officials said the person holding the deer in captivity had good intentions. The press release went on to say while a fawn may often look abandoned or alone, usually it is just waiting for the doe to come back with food.
North Carolina law does not allow residents to hold wildlife without proper training and licenses, and even then, there are strict rules to safeguard the health and safety of wildlife, livestock, and people. Current state regulations prohibit issuing new licenses to hold a deer in captivity.
If you do come upon an abandoned fawn, you can contact a licensed fawn rehabilitator. There is a list at www.ncwildlife.org