SOUTH MILFORD, Ind. (WTHR) - Residents of a small LaGrange County town are outraged after a conservation officer shot and killed a deer that had become a fixture in their neighborhood.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said the officer noticed unnatural behavior in the deer and, fearing it had a disease, shot the animal "away and out of view from the children and adults that had been interacting with the deer," WNDU-TV reported.
But residents told a different story.
They say the deer was shot in a residential area with children watching the whole thing. The deer had been abandoned by her mother and a family in South Milford had cared for it. The deer regularly wandered the area and would let people pet it.
But on Sunday, the deer followed some children home after they played in a park. The officer arrived and residents said he told children to go home before he chained it to his vehicle and shot it in the chest.
Residents, though, say there were children watching the officer put the animal down and the family who cared for the deer said the situation was handled all wrong.
"He could've walked her over there and not done it in town," said a woman who cared for the deer, alluding to a wooded area nearby.
DNR told WNDU it is illegal to raise an animal from the wild without a permit and that the deer should have been taken to a wildlife rehabilitator when it was found abandoned.
Residents of South Milford plan to file a formal complaint.