Orphaned Quebec deer allowed to return to adoptive family

An orphaned deer that was taken from the family in the Laurentians who adopted her will soon be allowed to return home.

Wildlife Ministry grants special permit for orphaned deer to live with adoptive family

A ministry spokesperson says a special permit will allow May the white-tailed deer to continue to live with Brigitte Thomas and her husband. (Brigitte Thomas)

An orphaned deer that was taken from her adoptive family in the Laurentians will soon be allowed to return home.

Gabrielle Fallu, a spokesperson for Wildlife Minister Luc Blanchette, confirmed the news to CBC Friday morning.

The deer was adopted by Brigitte Thomas and her husband four years ago after its mother was killed in a car accident. They named the deer May for the month she was born.

A cryptic note was posted on a Facebook page that Thomas set up called "Save May" late Thursday.

"Just a little wink to tell you that my parents and I will give you some news when I'm back at the house. I promise.  May xox," the note read.

Ministry grants special permit

Wildlife agents came to the family home Monday, acting on an anonymous tip, and seized the deer.  It's illegal to keep wildlife as pets in Quebec.

May was seized from the family home by provincial widlife agents after an anonymous tip Monday. (Brigitte Thomas)
In an earlier post Thursday, Thomas wrote that she had been working with Wildlife Ministry officials to come to a solution.

Fallu told CBC that the agents visited the family home Thursday to inspect the property and ensure it has adequate fencing and facilities for May.

She said the ministry will make a special exception and grant the family a permit to keep May, given the unique circumstances of the case.

Fallu added that this does not mean that anyone in Quebec can keep deer in their home, and if anyone comes across an orphaned or injured deer they should contact the ministry immediately.

She said May should be back home within a few days.

Part of the family

Thomas says May has become a part of the family since they first took her in as an orphaned fawn in 2012. (Brigitte Thomas)
In an interview with CBC earlier this week, Thomas said May was like part of the family.

She's housetrained, and often sits on a big cushion and watches TV with them.

About 23,000 people signed an online petition, set up by Thomas, asking the government to send May back home.

Sending wrong message 

Not everyone agreed with the ministry's decision to return May to her adoptive family. 

David Rodrigue, who is the executive director of the Ecomuseum Zoo in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, told CBC Montreal's Homerun that having May return home is sending the wrong message. 

"White-tailed deer are not pets and they shouldn't be," said Rodrigue, adding that wildlife regulations are in place for a reason.

Rodigue said he was concerned others might now think it's acceptable to pick up or nurse injured baby animals.

Once the animals are taken in by humans, they will not be able to return to the wild, he said. 

"I know it sounds harsh, but, as much as we want to project our emotions on them, it's really not helping them," said Rodrigue. 

If someone does come across an injured baby animal, like a deer, Rodrigue said to leave it alone. 

"Fawns get killed every day in the forest," he said. "It's part of the ecosystem and that's how other animals feed."

Rodrigue said if someone comes across an injured adult, it's best to contact a wildlife rehab facility who will have a better chance of reintegrating it into the wild after it heals.


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