Lilly the pet deer will be staying home with her Genesee County family.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that the family can keep the 5-year-old whitetail deer.
The family said they took the deer in as its dying mother gave birth to the fawn following a car/deer accident near their home. The family, which has requested to remain anonymous, received help in raising the fawn from Fenton Township's Wild Oat Animal Rescue.
“This is an extraordinary situation in which, in violation of Michigan law, a wild animal was, unfortunately, kept for a very long period of time in a home environment,” DNR director Keith Creagh stated in a press release.
The family keeps Lilly in a fenced-in yard and in the house. She can be seen playing with children in YouTube videos.
The DNR considered moving the deer to a zoo, but determined the deer would be unlikely to survive in another environment.
The DNR set many conditions for the family to keep Lilly. The family must register their house as a deer holding facility, have the deer receive regular health checks, and publicly admit keeping a wild animal is illegal, which they did in a recent statement on their blog, Lilly the Deer.
“Lilly’s Caretakers recognize that the circumstances under which Lilly became a member of their household and hearts are unique and were not authorized by any rule, or law of the State of Michigan. Lilly’s Caretakers fully recognize that there are rules and laws in the State of Michigan that govern the possession and ownership of wild animals and prohibit persons from taking wild animals from the wild and possessing wild animals without a validly issued permit by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources..."
State Rep. Joe Graves, R-Argentine Township, expressed his support on his Facebook Page.
"Over the past couple weeks I have been working behind the scenes with the owners of Lilly the Deer and the DNR. I want to congratulate the family and DNR for working together to reach a consensus. The state made the right and just decision to allow the family to keep the deer under these new stipulations," he posted.
What do you think of the DNR's decision? Should the family be able to keep the pet deer? Tell us in the comments.