B.C. woman fights to keep deer in home
Ministry says deer cannot be kept as pets
The B.C. government is trying to evict a Vancouver Island woman's unusual roommate – a pet deer that the woman has been living with for the past five years.
Ucluelet resident Janet Schwartz has raised Bimbo, a small black-tailed deer, in her home since she was a fawn, Schwartz told CBC News Monday.
The animal was found by a friend of Schwartz near the dead body of its mother outside the town, about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria.
Since then, Bimbo has slept on a bed in Schwartz's home and eaten at her table, Schwartz said.
"She eats all the same food I eat. She'll eat anything, bananas, apples, potatoes, cookies, candy, pop. You name it, she'll eat it," said Schwartz.
"She'll give you kisses and she loves to dance to Elvis Presley. It's her favourite music," said Schwartz.
"And she'll get up on her hind legs to hug me," she added.
Animal welfare authorities concerned
But authorities have expressed concern about the unusual domestic arrangement.
Deer are wild animals and are not to be kept as pets, according to B.C. Environment Ministry wildlife biologist Kim Brunt.
"I would suspect that it would have a reasonable chance of surviving if slowly re-introduced back into the wild," said Brunt.
"The first step would be not allowing it into the house or treating it so much like a domestic animal," she said.
The ministry has told Schwartz in a letter that Bimbo must be set free or taken to a rehabilitation centre.
Schwartz said those options are unacceptable.
"I don't want to let her go because I love her. She's like a baby I never had. I don't want to see her go because I love her," Schwartz said.
The ministry did not specify a time limit for Schwartz to comply with the decision in its letter to her, dated July 15.