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Thousands Sign Petitions To Save Pet Deer

GENESEE (WWJ) - The fate of a deer kept as a house pet hangs in the balance as efforts continue to keep her in her home.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for a placement for Lilly — a deer that has lived for 5 years with a Genesee County family  — saying it's illegal to keep wild animals as a pet.

"You know, if another stranger comes in; if another situation emerges that it's not accustomed to, it's difficult to anticipate what they'd do,"  the DNR's Brent Rudolph told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeil.

"Deer have very sharp hooves and other things, and it can be a problem," Rudolph said, adding that disease is also a concern.

The DNR was tipped off about the deer by a neighbor's friend.

Now a group of supporters is circulating petitions to convince the state to let Lilly stay put.  Thousands of people have signed petitions at and there are three Facebook pages dedicated to saving the deer.

The Genesee County couple, who don't want to be named, said they rescued Lilly who was born on the side of the road just after her mother was killed in a car crash.

In a TV interview, the couple said they love Lilly as a member of their family. They're asking that an exception be made, but Rudulph says that would set a bad precedent.

"There may not be anything bad that comes out if this animal stays where it is ... but we cannot be certain of that," he said.

The deer will have to be put down if the DNR can't find a facility that will take her.

The couple has hired an attorney.

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