Lilly the Deer Will Remain With Michigan Family

By: News 10
By: News 10

Statement from Lilly's Family

“Lilly’s Caretakers recognize that the circumstances under which Lilly became a member of their household and hearts are unique and were not authorized by any rule, or law of the State of Michigan. Lilly’s Caretakers fully recognize that there are rules and laws in the State of Michigan that govern the possession and ownership of wild animals and prohibit persons from taking wild animals from the wild and possessing wild animals without a validly issued permit by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Lilly’s Caretakers strongly encourage all citizens of the State of Michigan to leave wild animals in the wild, and if they come into a circumstance where they are in possession of a wild animal, they should follow the rules and laws of the State of Michigan that cover possession and owning wild animals including, but not limited to, immediately seeking the guidance and direction of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources before taking any individual action related to any wild animal. We, the Caretakers of Lilly the Deer have applied for a Privately Owned Cervidae Facility – Exhibition Class Permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and will abide by the requirements for that permit to the best of our ability.”

We have an update on a Genesee County family that has been fighting to keep a pet deer they have raised since she was a fawn after the DNR told them it was illegal.

Today, the former Genesee County Circuit Judge Val Washington has announced a deal with the DNR Monday that will allow Lilly to remain with her family, saying "I am pleased to announce today, after several weeks of negotiations, that an agreement has been reached with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that will allow Lilly to remain in the care of her caretakers. Given Lilly’s unique circumstances, the deal represents the best possible outcome for her continued health and survival. Lilly’s Caretakers have applied for an Exhibition Class Permit and they will continue to provide Lilly with the love, care, and environment she needs to thrive."

From our earlier story:

"It is illegal to keep a wild animal in the state of Michigan, but the owners of a deer they call Lilly didn’t realize that when they rescued her as an orphaned fawn.

Five years ago, a female deer was hit outside of the family’s home, and gave birth to twin fawns before dying of her injuries. One of the fawns died, but the other one survived. The family asked a police officer who had responded to the injured animal call if they could try to save the fawn. He told them to go ahead and try, but that the deer probably wouldn't survive. The family nursed it back to health, and named the fawn ‘Lilly.’

The pet deer is now a member of the family, along with two dogs and three cats that the family owns. She sleeps on a futon, watches television with the family, and plays with the other pets in the back yard.

People in their neighborhood know about Lilly and haven’t minded her living there, but when some new people moved in, one of their guests noticed the deer and reported the family to the DNR. The DNR gave the family notice that keeping a deer is illegal. The DNR says that Lilly will have to be rehabilitated to live in the wild, or be put down.


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