Montreal

Quebec Wildlife Ministry explains why it seized adopted deer

Quebec's Wildlife Ministry is explaining why it seized a white-tailed deer from a family in the Laurentians that adopted the orphaned animal four years ago after its mother was killed.

Ministry says May the deer is in good health and won't be euthanized

Quebec's Wildlife ministry says domestication of white-tailed deer such as May can have serious consequences on their behaviour. (Brigitte Thomas)

Quebec's Wildlife Ministry says it will make sure a white-tailed deer it seized from a family in the Laurentians will be well taken care of. 

Brigitte Thomas and her husband adopted the orphaned animal, which they named May, four years ago after its mother was killed. 

May is house-trained and sometimes sits on a big pillow watching TV with the couple. She also roams their 33-hectare forested property.

Wildlife Ministry agents seized the animal from Thomas' home Monday, acting on an anonymous tip.

The ministry didn't respond to requests for an interview with CBC Wednesday. However, it posted an update on May on its Facebook page late in the day.

'In perfect health'

"We would like to reassure you the deer in question is in perfect health and is currently in a shelter for animals. She won't be euthanized, and the ministry will ensure her well-being," the post said.

It goes on to say that when white-tailed deer are found injured or orphaned, they should be turned over to the ministry to prevent the spread of diseases and to protect other wildlife. 

"The domestication of a wild animal has significant consequences on its behaviour," they said.

The ministry also said it's possible to keep white-tailed deer in captivity in Quebec with required permits, but those permits appear to be strictly for breeding, game ranch or agricultural purposes.

It's not clear if Thomas and her husband could apply for such a permit to keep May.

Thomas and her husband have launched an online petition asking the government to return May to them as soon as possible.

As of Thursday morning, the petition had more than 17,000 signatures.
Brigitte Thomas and her family adopted May the deer after her mother was hit by a car and killed in 2012. (Brigitte Thomas)

About the Author

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.

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