WNEM TV5's story about Lilly the domesticated deer has drawn national and international attention.
TV5 has received calls from all over the world seeking video of our story, but you can see it here exclusively at WNEM.com.
The latest twist to the story is that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources isn't backing down from its threat to remove Lilly the deer from her family.
The DNR says it's illegal to keep the deer in their home, even though she's been a family pet for the past five years.
Now the DNR says Lily must be put back into the wild or be put down.
"Deer are wild animals," said Brent Rudolph, with the DNR's Deer and Elk program. "Even when they're accustomed to being around people, they can still be very unpredictable."
TV5 first reported on Lilly the deer last Friday. She's the deer that was born in the front yard of a Genesee County home five years ago after her mother was hit by a car. As the mother deer lay dying she gave birth to two fawns, one died, the other was in rough shape.
She's been raised as a member of the family ever since, just like one of the dogs and cats.
The story of Lilly's plight has generated hundreds and hundreds of emails and Facebook postings. But that outpouring of support may not be enough to save her.
"There are laws on the books that state we can't take wild animals and turn them into private property, so the department has to work within the constraints that the laws that establish what we can and can't do as well," said Rudolph.
The DNR says deer might look cute and cuddly, but in a blink of an eye, they can be deadly.
"People don't realize, you know, the strength and how sharp their hooves can be and other things," said Rudolph. "It doesn't take more than a quick lash of a hoof to cause pretty serious damage, [which] most people don't think about because they see a very gentle looking animal."
The DNR says even though you may feel like you are doing the right thing, it is best for the animals that we leave them alone.
"It's a good opportunity for us to remind people whether it's an animal hit by a car or a fawn you find in your yard, it's very common for people to believe they're doing the right thing by taking a fawn in, but whether it's a situation like this or simply a case of being unprepared in general to deal with it, it's not something we can allow to happen without any type of restriction," said Rudolph.
Neighbors in the area have no problem with the couple having a Lilly, but according to the homeowners, that changed when a neighbor's guest saw her and that person apparently called the DNR.
Now it looks like Lilly will be taken from the only home she has ever known. Or will she? On Tuesday, TV5's Erik Horn is speaking with a person who knows of other instances where the DNR has allowed domesticated deer to live with families in our state -- hear more from him tonight starting at 5.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
WAVE 3 Online Poll
Should Lilly be taken away from her family?
Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:
Thursday, April 24 2014 2:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:47:33 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A large water main break has caused a stretch of Eastern Parkway to collapse, caused flooding in Tyler Park area and leaving customers without water. The break happened aroundMore >>
A large water main break has caused a stretch of Eastern Parkway to collapse, caused flooding in Tyler Park area and leaving customers without water.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 4:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:49:17 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Officials with Louisville Metro Parks are starting the process to determine the damage to Tyler Park after a water main break at a nearby intersection caused major flooding.More >>
Officials with Louisville Metro Parks are starting the process to determine the damage to Tyler Park after a water main break at a nearby intersection caused major flooding in the 108 year old park.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:17:11 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Six people are facing drug charges after police served a search warrant at an apartment in the Algonquin neighborhood. According to arrest reports the warrants were served in theMore >>
The search uncovered more than eight ounces of marijuana and approximately three grams of crack.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-04-24 14:10:36 GMT
BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) - "This is something that you couldn't even imagine in your wildest imaginations, nightmares that something like this would ever happen, especially in a community this small," a closeMore >>
Kathy Netherland was a proud mother of two daughters who were described as great students by fellow teachers.More >>
725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203