Posted in: Animal News

Indiana Cop, Wife, Face Jail Time For Saving A Deer

Couple faces jail time for helping deer

Connersville, IN – A central Indiana couple is facing criminal charges (which may include jail time) for trying to save an injured deer.

WTHR reports that Jeff Counceller, a Connersville police officer, and his wife, Jennifer, may get up to 60 days behind bars after Jeff rescued an injured deer two years ago when he found it on a porch during a police call. He and his wife, a nurse, took care of the little deer, which they nicknamed “Dani.” The couple says that Dani changed their lives.

“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.

After realizing that taking care of Dani would be a long-term commitment, they called habitats all over the state of Indiana to see if anyone could take the deer. Everyone replied that they were full, so the Counceller’s decided to build Dani a pen in their own backyard.

“She would run around. She would play. We would feed her crack cord and deer chow and other things. Again, we knew someday that we needed to turn her loose,” explained Jeff.

“It was never a secret that we had the deer. Everybody knew we had the deer. We never kept it a secret. We talked about it openly,” said Jennifer.

After a confrontation with the Department of Natural Resources, they were told that Dani was too humanized and would need to be put down. After a series of back-and-forths with the DNR, a euthanasia date was set, but was interrupted when Dani’s pen was opened, and she escaped. The Counceller’s deny that they opened the gate, saying that it was perhaps a neighbor or friend who knew what would happen.

Now, the Counceller’s face criminal charges, but would like to see their case go before a jury.

“There was no criminal intent here. We didn’t go out and poach a deer. We didn’t kill a deer without a tag. We didn’t, you know, go out and steal her from the woods and plan on keeping her as a pet,” said Jennifer.

“She deserved a chance to live,” said Jeff about Dani.

This type of thing is not entirely unheard of. CBS Baltimore reported on a similar case in 2010, in which a group of Good Samaritans intervened to save a deer from drowning in icy water. They were written tickets with a $90 fine by the Natural Resources officer on the scene, who apparently watched the group save the deer, only to hand them tickets for unspecified reasons.

I guess the moral of the story is: Don’t help deer because the government doesn’t like it.

13 WTHR Indianapolis

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21 Responses to “Indiana Cop, Wife, Face Jail Time For Saving A Deer”

  1. Anonymous

    the mentally of the law and government, never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Lindsay Liane Dzyngel

    That is crazy that they are facing possible jail time! They helped an injured animal they are good people not bad and this is ridiculous that they could go to jail for helping a hurt deer that deserved a chance to live.

  3. Pam Manor

    I see stories all the time about people saving deer from falling through ice and other life threatening incidents , so what is different this time?

  4. Janet Wilson Overman

    Craziest thing I've heard lately. They worked and saved a life! Worry about the people who kill innocent and mistreat animals. For that matter, do something about people that kill innocent PEOPLE! Gangs are taking over – let the deer people do good – don't punish them for it! Good grief! Get it together!

  5. Al Marrello

    And we wonder why this country ( and the whole world for that matter ) is in the condition that it is right now?
    I am beginning to think the phrase " common sense " is pretty much becoming a misnomer because there seems to be so little of it these days!

  6. Susan Gavahan

    Stupidity is all over the U.S the D.N.R waste more of the tax payers money than anybody.

  7. Kelli Cole

    Oh, for cryin' out loud! Just when I think I've heard the stupidest, most taxpayers-money-and time-wasting, down-right asinine action "the government" (in this case, local govt.) can indulge in, something like this comes along.
    Give me a freakin' break.

  8. Suzette Miller

    The clown working for the DNR once again proves that there are a million Hitlers running around in the world, they just don't have the power Adolph had. This idiot was going to kill that deer, just to prove that he could. I'm glad the gate "slipped' open. I hope it does go to trial, and that they drag that idiot DNR agent to the stand. Even a half-wit lawyer could make that schmuck look like the tool that he (or she) is.

  9. Anonymous

    I can hardly believe that people who only tried to assist a helpless innocent animal could be treatd by the judicial system of the United States of America. I live in Croatia. A thing like this, definitely, could not happen in Croatia. I am sure that it could not happen even in North Korea.

  10. Krista Richardson

    I live in Connersville, IN, and I think that these people deserve to pay the penalty for breaking the conservation law. Others before them had to. Why are they exempt? Would this get any media coverage if he wasn't a cop? What if it happened to me? Would I be on the news? Nope. And I wouldn't be afforded any special treatment. Neither should they. As a police officer, he is bound by his oath to uphold the law. He openly and with intent disobeyed it. Now it's time to face the consequences of his actions, just as anyone else would have to. Our conservation laws are in place for a reason, even if you don't understand them.

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