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Wednesday April 16, 2014
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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
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Opening Arguments

Wild things

I really wasn't going to comment on this, but it's been getting international attention, and now even the governor has weighed in:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has asked for a briefing on the case of the Connersville couple being prosecuted for illegally possessing a deer they rescued and tried to raise until it could be returned to the wild, but he said it appears conservation officers “acted appropriately.”

Pence took just one question at a press conference Wednesday about a case involving Jennifer and Jeff Counceller, who rescued an injured fawn in 2010 and raised it for nearly two years with the intention of releasing it. The Department of Natural Resources found out what they were doing, ordered that the deer be killed and charged the couple each with misdemeanors punishable by fines of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.

The deer was freed — it’s not clear by whom — before it could be killed.

I don't want to come across as some Bambi-hating hardass, but could we give the gushy sentimentality a rest? I think Pence sort of came down in the right place on the issue:
“Look, we all admire compassion for an injured animal. Hoosiers cherish our animals, whether they are our pets, whether they are lifestock or whether they are wild animals. But this is a state of laws and as governor of the state of Indiana, my focus is going to be to ensure that our laws are fairly and impartially enforced."

Yes, those DNR folks can seem thuggish at times when they run around getting all Barney Fife on people who just want to enjoy nature a little.  But a deer is a wild animal , OK, not meant to be a house pet. And these people kept the deer for two years, which means they were going well beyond letting its wounds heal. If they hadn't been cited, would they really have been inclinded to let it go?

Go watch "The Yearling," for God's sake.

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