GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) – An Indiana special prosecutor said Thursday he has submitted a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor illegal possession charges against a couple who nursed an injured white-tailed deer back to health and kept it on their farm for two years, saying he did so at the request of the state agency that first requested the charges.
Decatur County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Douglas Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press that he had faxed to the court a request to dismiss the charges against Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller and his wife, Jennifer, and mailed a copy to the couple. The move came six days after the Department of Natural Resources asked that the charges be dropped.
“The DNR’s request played a significant role,” he said.
Brown said he couldn’t comment further, saying the reasoning for the decision would be included in a special prosecutor’s report he hopes to have completed by Friday.
The Councellers said they were pleased with the decision.
“I don’t think any state law should ever punish an act of kindness and compassion, especially when it saves an animal,” Jennifer Counceller said.
Jeff Counceller called the decision “the best outcome to this situation.”
The DNR sought the charges after the deer the Councellers rescued went missing last summer on the day the DNR planned to euthanize it. Jeff Counceller had earlier said he found the deer in 2010 curled up on a front porch with maggot-infested puncture wounds, so he took it back to his family’s 17-acre farm in Connersville to try to save it. The couple named the fawn Dani and kept it in a fenced enclosure.
The Councellers said they had intended to release the deer once it was strong enough to survive on its own. They tried to find it a home at animal rescue operations, petting zoos and deer farms, but no one would take it. They applied for a rescue permit but were turned down.
DNR filed a report in Fayette County, which sought a special prosecutor because Counceller deals with prosecutors in Fayette County as part of his job.
The DNR announced last week it would ask prosecutors to dismiss the charge, which carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, after Gov. Mike Pence asked the agency to review the case.
Thousands of people outraged by the case have signed an online petition calling for the charges to be dropped.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas