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Family Rallies to Save Adopted Pet Deer

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To the average person, Florecita is just another deer but the Cervantes family considers her one of their own; soon, California Fish and Game will take her away.

“I am never going to see her again,” said Ulises Cervantes, 7.

“She is pretty much like my child. We raised her since she was probably like seven days old. She had her umbilical cord still attached to her,” said Saida Ponce.

The Cervantes family rescued Florecita after they found her dead mother lying on the road.

They took her as if she were their own and even fed her with a bottle.

“She was like the baby. We do not have any girls so she was like the girl in the family,” said Ponce.

Neighbors have love for Florecita, too.

“She is like a family member to this family, a very young family, which is learning the value of a pet and how you care for them properly,” said neighbor Debbie Atkins.

The Doe runs free on the family’s large property.

She is close to the children she follows them even neighbors have grown attached.

California law, however, says it is illegal for the average person to keep a wild animal.

“If she had not been rescued she would not be on this earth. She has had two plus years of really great care and it just seems kind of sad they would get penalized for that,” said Atkins.

Florecita will have to be trained and will likely never return to the wild.

“People pay for killing a deer during Hunting season. I do not understand why we can not get a permit to keep her on our property,” said Ponce.

Fish and Game says their intentions are to do what is in the best interest of the deer.

Their hope is to return Florecita to the wild if ever possible.

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  • joveraitis

    I am not sure about california, but here in michigan one way around losing the deer would be to apply as a wildlife rehabber and then attempt to keep the deer on the property. You can even inform the game officers that it is a one time only event.

  • CharmsDad

    California is very strict with regard to their rehabilitation laws. Here in NC cervid rehabilitation is limited to fawns only. Anyone attempting to keep an adult deer will have their license immediately revoked and the deer euthanized. California's standards are even more strict. The intent is to PREVENT the deer from being imprinted to humans. Contrary to what is stated in the article, it is extremely doubtful this deer can be successfully released into the wild.

  • deedee856star

    Amazing! People have lions and tigers caged in their backyards yet this family can't keep a deer that would be dead by now if not for them…wonderful.

  • Barbette59

    I don't understand why after almost 3 years of being with this family CA fish and game wants to take it away? As I see it, because the deer was so young when they took her in and cared for her, she is in her natural environment. She knows no other way of life. Why do they want to hurt this family? All the crimes that are going on, they have to focus on a loving family with a pet? I hate to think there's tax money being used to take an animal away from its happy home and break the hearts of a young family when this state has much greater needs than to hurt people doing something good. It's against the law? Really? Is this the most pressing law being broken right now? Let this family keep the pet they've cared for since such an early age! How about we put state money where it can really do some good, rather than hurting people and animals? Taking this deer away from the only home and life it knows will be hurtful to the deer as well as the family.

  • Tmoooo

    I just spoke to Ben in the newsroom trying to help this family. He advised the Dept. of Fish & Game will be there to remove the deer & that Channel 40 News would be there. Unfortunately he can't reveal the family's address & I respect that. If anyone reading this is familiar with the Cervantes address perhaps they could show up to help show support for the family. Maybe making this a bigger news item might help…although I know it's not "important." Also perhaps calling the Dept. of Fish & Game to make a complaint (although I know not based on anything legal) might help. At least DO SOMETHING-THIS IS WRONG! The Dept. could make a legal decision on a case by case basis!

  • Tmoooo

    I just called Dept of Fish & Wildlife & after a bit of a runaround (voicemail of a biologist away 3/25-4/02 & a couple disconnected #'s) I was finally able to speak to a very helpful lady at 916/358-2900 (dispatch?) She advised the deer would grow bigger & could be a possible threat to people & pets. She also advised it's more stressful for the deer to remain there than to be rehabilitated/released. I disagree but I'm coming from a place of emotion & ignorance. I wish there was something we all could do if we could get together but the STATE is the law. I also emailed the reporter but doubt KTXL wants to or can waste resources on a little deer. Sad. I guess I'll be told to "get a life" but I care. Thank You.

  • Anna

    The family should have contacted a wildlife rehabber when they first found the deer and not kept it as a pet in the first place. Wild animals should NEVER be kept as pets; that is the law in California. At least it was able to be released and it wasn’t euthanized because it was imprinted on humans.

  • Anna

    The title of this article should be, “Family Rallies to Save Illegal Pet Deer,” not adopted. You can’t adopt a wild animal, it’s ILLEGAL.