Thursday, September 20, 2007

Snowball, the deer, won't be returned to the wild

OREGON -- Francesca Mantei and her Molalla family hope state wildlife officials will return two deer they have kept as pets, Snowball and her yearling buck, Bucky.

Under no conditions will Snowball the deer be returned to the wild, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and announced today.

Wildlife officials were still waiting for lab results that could help determine the fate of the mottled 6-year-old doe and her yearling buck, Bucky, both seized Sept. 12 from a Molalla family that kept them as pets.

 "Going back into the wild for the doe is not an option," said Rick Hargrave, a spokesman for the state wildlife agency. "It's got some degenerative abnormalities that would preclude it from surviving in the wild."

 Bucky, he said, was a better candidate for release, the agency's preferred alternative, because he was exhibiting an "aversion to human contact" and the type of "flight behaviors that they'd use in the wild."

Officials also are considering placing the deer at a licensed wildlife refuge or returning Snowball to Jim Filipetti and his family. Filipetti's attorney met with state officials Tuesday and was still seeking a compromise.
(Oregon Live - September 19, 2007)

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