BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - A Burke County woman rescued a fawn last summer after she found it on the side of the road. Now, she's fighting to keep wildlife officers from euthanizing it.
Nancy Reese showed Eyewitness News the 7-month-old buck, nicknamed Buddy, she keeps in a pen in her front yard. Last summer, she found him right after birth in bad shape on the side of the road not far from her home.
“When I found about it, it laid there from 2 o'clock to 8 at night, and when I went back down there, the flies were all over its eyes. It couldn't even stand up, it was so weak,” Reese said.
Reese fed Buddy from a bottle days after the rescue. Now, he eats everything from apples to pears.
But wildlife officers said that is part of the problem. It could be difficult for Buddy to survive if he's ever released back into the wild. And state law says it is illegal in North Carolina to keep a deer in captivity.
“They say I put the deer in harm’s way. I saved its life,” Reese said. “I'm not putting it in harm’s way. But they are going to come here and kill it and euthanize it. That's not right.”
Right now, wildlife officers, who didn't want to go on camera, said they have not made a final decision on Buddy's fate. There are deer rehabilitators, but wildlife officers said in most cases, those experts must be contacted within 48 hours.
Their best advice is to leave wildlife alone.
Reese said she did the right thing last summer and believes if she lets Buddy go, he will survive.
“If he can't, I will ring that dinner bell over there and he'll be right here to eat,” she said.