Police officer, wife face jail time for saving a deer


A central Indiana couple faces criminal charges tonight for trying to save an injured deer. “I’ve caught a guy that’s killed three people,” explained Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller. Counceller has spent his 14 year career as a police officer, locking up the bad guys.
“We’ve never had any criminal convictions. We’re good people,” added his wife Jennifer. The Councellers though, have found themselves on the other side of the law recently. The couple may face 60 days behind bars. The reason comes down to a little deer Jeff rescued two years ago, after he found it injured on a porch during a police call.
“I was gonna put her back in the woods, but I seen the injuries and I knew they were life threatening so I called Jennifer,” recalled Jeff.
Jennifer, a nurse, thought she could help.
“I couldn’t let her just die there,” said Jennifer.
“We called her little orphan Dani. She’s definitely changed our lives,” she added. The couple nursed Dani back to health, even bottle feeding her.
“I had to set my alarm every two hours. We just kind of took turns. Every two hours we had to feed her and irrigate her wounds and spray more medicine on it,” explained Jennifer. “I had her standing up on the second day that I got her back and she was you know, walking and I knew she was making improvements,” said Jennifer.
Not enough though, said the Councellers to just release the fawn back into the wild quickly. “She was just too small to survive,” Jennifer explained.
At one point, the Councellers said they called several deer habitats across the state to see if one of them could take Dani. The couple said they were told that they were too full at that point.
So the Councellers built a pen for Dani in their backyard, right near the woods, until the deer could grow bigger and stronger. Last summer, the Councellers said they were getting ready to let Dani go, but were waiting for the corn crops to mature so she would have something to eat when they released her. “We had already started decreasing our contact with her, trying to kind of dehumanize her and you know, get her used to us not being there,” explained Jennifer. “We were about six weeks away from turning her loose,” added Jeff.
Last July though, the Councellers said they got a visit from an officer with the Department of Natural Resources. “He asked me if we still had the deer and I told him I did,” recalled Jennifer. “He told me that I could maybe call Indianapolis and maybe get a rescue permit until you know, we could get her released back into the wild. So that’s what I tried to do,” Jennifer continued. Jennifer said when she called the DNR’s state office, she was turned down. “She basically just told me that I was in illegal possession of the deer and that they would not give me a rescue permit,” recalled Jennifer. “It just kind of all went downhill from there,” she continued.


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