Couple Ticketed for Taking Whitetail Fawn Into Walmart

Couple Ticketed for Taking Whitetail Fawn Into Walmart

A Georgia couple received citations last week after they were spotted perusing the dog food aisle of a local Walmart with their “pet” deer fawn in tow.

The sight of the newborn whitetail in the Grovetown, Georgia, Walmart Supercenter apparently alarmed the employees, who immediately contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Officers then enlisted the help of local game wardens.

According to the News & Observer, the couple had already left the Walmart by the time officials with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources arrived on the scene. But wardens were able to track the two down using security camera footage.

A bizarre freeze frame shows the man pushing a shopping cart with a large bag of dog food and what appear to be two cartons of milk. At his side is a woman in a black shirt and white shorts cradling the one-week-old fawn.

While reviewing the footage, game wardens were able to identify a company logo on the man’s shirt. The logo led them to his employer, who pointed the wildlife officials in the direction of his Appling, Georgia, home.

After game wardens caught up with the couple, they questioned the man about his intent. Warden Saxon Campbell told McClatchy News that the man said his dogs brought the baby deer into his yard and “he wanted to take care of it.”

The couple was cited for possession of wildlife without a permit. Wardens confiscated the fawn and turned over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

According to MeatEater contributor Pat Durkin, misguided fawn rescue attempts like this are all too common each spring as people across the county come into close contact with newborn deer. People often assume that the fawns they find have been abandoned, but that is rarely the case.

“Their empathy proves so strong they can’t believe they’ll doom a fawn to early death or lifetime captivity by rushing it to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator,” Durkin wrote in a recent article titled, “Why Fawn Rescues Fail.”

In this case, the fawn made a detour through the nearest Wally World before finding itself in a rehab center, but it is likely to share a similar fate.

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