CLARINGTON - Last week, a friendly deer that many residents of Clarington considered the town pet was put down by ODNR, citing public safety concerns.
What went unexplained was where the tame buck may have originated. Powhatan Point resident Heidi Brown offered a likely explanation for the animal, often referred to as Bucky.
"I believe that this deer once belonged to my late father-in-law, Marvin Brown. After the fawn's mother had been hit by a car, Marvin rescued and raised the young deer," Brown wrote in a letter.
Photo Provided/SANDY POTTS
THE FRIENDLY deer of Clarington, often called Bucky, posed for many photos throughout his stay.
She said the deer was amazing to see, behaving like a dog by playing with children, greeting visitors, following Marvin Brown around and even enjoying car rides.
"On November 18, 2013, Marvin was shot and killed," Brown went on to say. "A few days after Marvin's murder, his deer ran away. The deer was wearing an orange collar for his own protection during hunting season. But, given his friendly nature, we did not expect the young deer to survive for very long, especially without Marvin to care for him."
When Bucky wandered into Clarington several months ago, he was wearing an orange collar. The small village is just seven miles from Brown's home in Powhatan Point, and the age of the buck in question seems to fit the timeline.
Brown stated that she was relieved to read about residents caring for Bucky, calling it "heart-warming." "Although it was devastating to learn that the little guy was put down, I am grateful to the people in Clarington who cared so much for him during his short life."
Meanwhile, outrage over ODNR's decision to kill Bucky has continued to grow. Online news outlets have reported on the issue, while animal rights activists and others have jumped in to criticize ODNR on its Facebook page. There was even a yousign.com petition to fire the officer who shot Bucky in the public park near the edge of Clarington. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had received 3, 052 signatures, but on Thursday afternoon the petition had been deleted.
Much of the outrage centers around the fact that the deer was killed in front of two young girls who had fed and pet him.
Bucky is also connected to a petition on change.org labeled "Support Trooper's Law & Make Compassion Legal! Protect Animal Wildlife & Stop the Killing!" The petition calls for the state to allow willing and licensed rehabilitation experts, veterinarians and caretakers to provide appropriate care for injured wildlife, such as deer or raccoons.
"The hands of our veterinarians have been tied by the government. They are not permitted to treat certain wildlife such as an injured fawn...and, they [ODNR] threaten compassionate caretakers with arrest, jail time and fines," the petition says.
Clarington resident Sandy Potts, whose yard was frequently visited by Bucky, had this to say about the petition.
"Although we lost our Bucky to the cruelty of the ODNR, his death has brought a national spotlight to our cause. The people at saving Trooper were working with us to help save Bucky and we need to support them so this law is passed and never happens again," she wrote on her Facebook page.
The controversy reached the Ohio Humane Society, whose director, Corey Roscoe, sent a letter to Scott Zody, Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Roscoe expressed disappointment with ODNR's decision, and said that many Ohio residents have placed distressed calls to his agency.
"This did not appear to be a case of illegal possession, but rather of a habituated deer who was not sick or exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior. We...agree that it would have been best for him as well as the public that this conditioning be broken, but a non-lethal approach should have been tried before the rather arbitrary decision to kill the animal was made," Roscoe wrote.
He went on to say he would welcome a meeting with ODNR staff to discuss protocol and resources for situations like these in the future.
To learn about non-lethal deer repellant, go to humanesociety.org/deer.
Warner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.