A pet deer named after a Bambi character has been shot dead by authorities on her owner's driveway in Kansas. The family who owned the deer, the Mcgaugheys, are said to be distraught after wildlife wardens shot the deer five times.
Three wardens turned up at the farm last week and killed the deer, called Faline after Bambi's friend in the 1942 Disney animated drama. They allegedly fatally shot the animal minutes after handing the family a warning notice stating that it was an illegal pet.
The three-year-old deer had lived with the family for two years. Faline was originally taken in by the family after she suffered a broken leg and then refused to leave, said Kim Mcgaughey, who lives on the farm with her daughter, Taryn and her eight-year-old grandson.
"I couldn't believe it," said Kim's daughter Taryn, speaking to The Independent. "One shot to the head would have been enough but then he shot her in the leg and four times in the back. He treated her like target practice."
The mule deer had even learned to open the door with her head and would sometimes sleep in the bedroom.
"She would get on the bed and stand like she owned the place," said Taryn, a 34-year-old fashion, fitness and glamour model. "But she had free rein to do whatever the heck she wanted. There was no way you could keep her in an enclosure."
It is illegal in the state of Kansas to keep a wild animal as a pet and Taryn believes that the wardens may have found out Faline was living in the home after the family took to social media when she went missing for a week.
Taryn said owners of illegal pets were supposed to be awarded 30 days to contest a penalty notice over an unlicensed pet and a further 10 days to get a licence. "My son broke down to his knees when he found out she was dead," she continued. "My mum, it's real hard for her to talk about. I was like, Faline was part of the family. It's just hard."
In response, Mark Rankin, law enforcement assistant director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, told a state wildlife commission at a public meeting that two people in the state had been killed by deer they had kept as pets.
"Euthanising wildlife is never a pleasant situation, and it's especially difficult when there are people present who are emotionally attached," he said, according to the Toronto Sun. "The deer was unlawfully possessed, and there is no permit available to hold a wild-caught deer as a pet in the state of Kansas."