A Georgia couple received citations last week after they were seen perusing the dog food aisle of a local Walmart with their “pet” fawn in tow.
The sight of the newborn whitetail at the Grovetown, Georgia, Walmart Supercenter apparently alarmed employees, who immediately contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Officers then enlisted the help of local rangers.
A strange freeze frame shows the man pushing a shopping cart with a large bag of dog food and what appear to be two cartons of milk. Beside her is a woman in a black shirt and white shorts cradling the week-old fawn.
While reviewing the footage, rangers were able to identify a company logo on the man’s shirt. The logo led them to his employer, who pointed wildlife officials in the direction of his home in Appling, Georgia.
After the rangers caught up with the couple, they questioned the man about his intentions. Warden Saxon Campbell said McClatchy News that the man said his dogs brought the baby deer into his garden and “he wanted to take care of it.”
The couple was cited for possession of wildlife without a permit. The wardens confiscated the fawn and turned it over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
According to MeatEater contributor Pat Durkin, misguided fawn rescue attempts like this are all too common each spring, as people across the county come into close contact with the newborn deer. People often assume that the fawns they find have been abandoned, but this is rarely the case.
“Their empathy is so strong that they cannot believe that they will doom a fawn to an early death or lifelong captivity by taking it to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator,” Durkin wrote in a recent article titled “Why Fawn Rescues Fail ”.
In this case, the fawn strayed to the nearest Wally World before finding himself in a halfway house, but he likely shared a similar fate.