INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana police officer will soon have his named cleared after he and his wife faced legal ramifications for nursing an injured deer back to health.
The Decatur County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday that it plans to drop charges this week against Connersville police officer Jeff Counceller and his wife, Jennifer, who nursed an injured baby deer back to health.
The pair was charged at the end of January with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, a misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, after they found an injured deer in 2010 and nursed it back to health.
The couple rescued the deer more than two years ago after finding it on their neighbor’s porch. The Councellers said the deer had sustained injuries, and they wanted to nurse it back to health.
“I could feel all of the open wounds all along her back side and she wouldn’t stand up,” Jennifer Counceller told ABC News.
They brought the deer home and named her Little Orphan Dani.
The Councellers said an Indiana Conservation Officer stopped by their home and discovered the deer this past summer. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources wanted to euthanize Dani, saying she might be dangerous and a threat to people.
“I was devastated. I spent a year and several months nursing her into adulthood, getting to the point where she was able to go out on her own,” Counceller said.
Following public outrage, Gov. Mike Pence asked the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to reevaluate the case, and the agency recommended charges be dismissed.
Decatur County Deputy Prosecutor Doug Brown said he plans to dismiss the charges by Friday morning.
The DNR said it hopes to use the case as a teaching moment to let Hoosiers know the law prohibits ownership of wild animals for many reasons, among them the chance they will transmit diseases and parasites to humans.
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