TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Connersville Police Officer Jeff Counceller and his wife, Jennifer never would have guessed that they'd be facing criminal charges after nursing an injured fawn they found back to health.
State wildlife officials and prosecutors charged the couple with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer. That's a misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Dobbs Park Nature Center in Terre Haute said finding a wild animal in the Wabash Valley is common.
"A lot of animals that are considered wild animals...live right in the city: raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes hawks," Naturalist Carissa Lovett said.
Lovett says an animal is considered wild if it is not domesticated.
If you find one, don't touch it. Instead, call for professional help.
"It's really hard for human nature to just leave those little animals where they are. We want to comfort them. We think that we can do a better job than the animal parent can," Lovett said.
Lovett says they receive calls daily from folks that have wild animals.
"Maybe, it's becoming a bigger problem; maybe, they found people have them; maybe it's because he's a police officer and he should know the law. I really don't know, because I know there are people out there that are raising raccoons and deer," she said.
In Indiana, a person must have a permit to own wild animals.
So what do you do if you come across an injured wild animal?
You can call rehabilitator, Karen White at Petcare Animal Hospital at (812) 235-1111.
For more information, call Dobbs Park Nature Center at (812) 877-1095.