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CONSERVATION WARDEN. Contact: Jennifer C. Niemeyer.
Location: DNR Field Office, 9531 Rayne Road, Suite 4, Sturtevant, WI 53177
Last week, a fawn named Giggles was euthanized by state wardens after it was brought to a shelter by a family who believed the fawn had been abandoned by its mother.
The incident, first reported by Milwaukee’s WISN-TV, angered those caring for Giggles at the Society of St. Francis Animal Shelter near Kenosha. The fawn had been brought to the no-kill shelter by an Illinois family in an effort to save the animal.
In accordance with the state’s “captive deer laws” no animal is supposed to be taken or transported from its home in the wild.
In an ongoing effort to stop the spread of the deadly chronic wasting disease (CWD) among the state’s deer population, deer that are taken into captivity in areas of the state where CWD has been discovered are required to be euthanized.
Chronic wasting disease is a nervous system disease that infects white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk. The disease has been found in these animals in 17 states, including Wisconsin.
There are no licensed rehabilitation facilities which are authorized to rehab deer in a CWD zone, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
“Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity,” said Cathy Stepp, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in a statement. “None of our staff take joy in these situations.”
Staff at the Society of St. Francis shelter told a WISN reporter that the fawn was taken from the shelter after being tranquilized by “nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs … all armed to the teeth.”
The DNR had received calls informing them of the fawn’s presence at the shelter. According to Stepp’s statement, the wardens did request voluntary compliance from the facility.
“When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant,” said Stepp. “We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.”
Stepp added the department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild.
“In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature,” she said. “It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce.”
A similar incident played out around Christmas 2011 when a fawn named Charlotte was rescued and brought to a shelter in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker saved Charlotte from being euthanized after a story appeared in the Chicago Tribune.