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Bucky and Snowball

150 words to the Oregonian - letters@news.oregonian.com

9/20/07

To The Editor:

In defending its treatment of “Bucky and “Snowball” the deer, the Department of Fish & Wildlife has said that deer “belong to everybody in the state of Oregon, not just a few people.” If this is indeed the case, why then does the department encourage hunters to slaughter them and take them from the ninety-three percent of Oregonians who do not hunt?

The answer is that the department profits from the destruction of wildlife through the sale of hunting permits and the collection of excise taxes affixed to the price of weapons, ammunition and hunting equipment. The agency entrusted to protect wildlife is actually in the business of exploiting and destroying wildlife.

Hopefully Bucky and Snowball will be returned to the Molalla family that has loved and cared for them for their entire lives, because to Fish and Wildlife, their lives are worth only the cost of a hunting license.

Joe Miele, Vice-President

The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561
201-880-4989

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http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/09/snowball_wont_be_returned_to_t.html 

Snowball, the deer, won't be returned to the wild
Posted by The Oregonian September 19, 2007 06:21AM
Categories: Breaking News, Clackamas County

Doug Beghtel Francesca Mantei and her Molalla family hope state wildlife officials will return two deer they have kept as pets, Snowball and her yearling buck, Bucky.

Under no conditions will Snowball the deer be returned to the wild, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and announced today.

Wildlife officials were still waiting for lab results that could help determine the fate of the mottled 6-year-old doe and her yearling buck, Bucky, both seized Sept. 12 from a Molalla family that kept them as pets.

"Going back into the wild for the doe is not an option," said Rick Hargrave, a spokesman for the state wildlife agency. "It's got some degenerative abnormalities that would preclude it from surviving in the wild."

Bucky, he said, was a better candidate for release, the agency's preferred alternative, because he was exhibiting an "aversion to human contact" and the type of "flight behaviors that they'd use in the wild."

Officials also are considering placing the deer at a licensed wildlife refuge or returning Snowball to Jim Filipetti and his family. Filipetti's attorney met with state officials Tuesday and was still seeking a compromise.

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http://www.itchmo.com/pet-deer-seized-from-oregon-family-2851

Pet Deer Seized From Oregon Family
Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 8:00 am in News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Portland, Other Pets.
By Emily Huh

Itchmo comes to you when called.

An Oregon family pleaded and begged with police and wildlife officers for eight hours on Wednesday to keep their two pet deer, Snowball and Bucky.

But the family lost their fight to keep their pets, and now they are utterly heartbroken. Authorities took Snowball, a 6-year-old doe, and Bucky, her yearling buck, away from their home.

The animals will be evaluated by veterinarians. They will either be transferred to a licensed wildlife facility, released into the wild or euthanized.

Under Oregon state law, it is illegal to keep most wildlife in captivity without a permit.

Wildlife officials said there were health and disease concerns with keeping deer as pets. They added that the deer “belong to everybody in the state of Oregon, not just a few people.”

Six years ago, while Jim Filipetti was driving with his children, he saw a white fawn with brown spots lying on the roadside. She was weak and had deformed back legs and hooves that curved inward. This deformity caused her pain and injuries when she tried to walk.

Filipetti took the fawn and brought her to a veterinarian. The veterinarian fit her deformed legs with tiny casts to straighten them. The family put carpet scraps on the floors to prevent Snowball from sliding. She even nibbled at their Christmas tree. Snowball was part of the family.

Snowball lived in the house for almost a year. She slept at the family’s bed and learned from Tasha, the family cocker spaniel. She pawed at people with her hoof when she wanted some attention.

After awhile, the family then moved Snowball to the yard. She mated with a blind buck, Mr. Magoo, who also lived with the family for some time before he died.

Bucky, her offspring, was born, and the two shared their yard with pot-bellied pigs and roosters.

But in March, authorities received an anonymous tip that the family was keeping deer on their property. State troopers inspected the property in April.

In some incidences, the state allows licenses to residents to care for deer or elk, but the state limits the number of licenses to 16, and there are none available. Also, animals must be legally required which the family did not do.

Both deer are friendly, but Snowball acts more like a dog than a deer. Authorities do not think that Snowball could survive on her own in the wild, so they are looking for a zoo or wildlife refuge for her to go to. If they cannot find a place for her, she would most likely be euthanized. It seems that Bucky is suitable for relocation in the wild.

There has been public outcry over the authorities seizing the deer from the family. Many Oregon residents said that Snowball and Bucky should be returned to the family especially if the state may euthanize the deer. They said the family took care of the deer and treated them like pets, and they should be granted permission to keep them.

UPDATE: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Roy Elicker put out a statement this morning saying that the deer will not be euthanized. They are looking at all types of options and one of those options may be returning the deer back to the family. But they reiterated that euthanasia would not be an option.

An Itchmo reader, Lynn, contacted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and this is the email response that she received:

We have received your comments regarding the two black-tailed deer that were being held illegally at a private residence in Molalla. We are working to find a solution that recognizes the families’ attachment to the animals, but is in the best interest of the two deer and all of Oregon’s wildlife.

Director Roy Elicker has publicly stated that the two deer will not be euthanized. State veterinarians are now caring for the deer. They are assessing their health and determining whether they have any diseases that may be harmful to them or to other wildlife. Those results are expected sometime this week.

The veterinarians are also evaluating the ability of the deer to survive in the wild. In all cases, the preferred solution is to return the deer to their native habitat.

Oregon law recognizes that wildlife should remain wild by prohibiting private possession of wild animals. This protects the public, other wildlife and the animals themselves.

The buck in this case has reached sexual maturity, is aggressive and poses a potential threat to the family and the public. Wild animals that are raised around people lose their natural fear of humans. The majority of the wildlife attacks on humans are by deer and other animals that no longer fear humans.

Private possession of wildlife also puts Oregon’s other wildlife at risk. Chronic Wasting Disease and other diseases can be traced to situations where animals are kept in captivity. Fortunately, Oregon has not had any cases of this disease which is fatal to deer and elk.

Deer hair loss is another devastating disease that has had significant impacts on Black-tail deer populations. We are taking every possible precaution to prevent the introduction of diseases which could potentially devastate our wild deer and elk populations. Prohibiting private possession of wildlife is one way to prevent this from happening.

The law does allow for the licensing of facilities that are equipped to properly provide long-term care for captive wild animals. These facilities have ample room for the animals to roam and to graze on natural vegetation. They provide adequate and proper feed. Their staff is properly trained and equipped to respond to any situation that may arise. This ensures that deer, elk and other animals held at these facilities receive humane treatment.
In closing, we are exploring all of the options available under Oregon law. We are committed to finding a solution that provides proper care for these two deer, protects public health and all of Oregon’s wildlife.

Source: The Oregonian
Photo: Oregon Live

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