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Deer with Collar, ‘Pet’ Painted on Its Body Prompts Warning from Officials

A deer was seen in Missouri with the word "pet" on its side.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

The following article, Deer with Collar, 'Pet' Painted on Its Body Prompts Warning from Officials, was first published on Flag And Cross.

A photo of a deer with the word “pet” painted on its side that was making the rounds on social media spurred wildlife officials in Missouri to warn that wild animals are not pets and should not be toyed with.

The Missouri Dept. of Conservation was quick to warn residents of Jefferson County that they should resist the idea that a deer can be a pet.

In the photo of the deer that had been going viral on social media, a young buck is seen standing in a field wearing a strap collar and sporting the word pet in black paint on its side.

But the MDC was not amused by the image. Neither was the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Missouri Dept. of Conservation responded to rural Festus this week for this deer. Wild animals should not be considered pets, and particularly deer should not be moved from their habitat as MDC works on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Orphan wildlife should be reported to your local MDC office or Conservation Agent,” the sheriff’s office told the public in its Oct. 8 post.

“Somebody most likely took that deer out of the wild as a fawn and tried to keep it as a pet and put a collar on it,” MDC Conservation Captain Scott Corley, according to the Bellville News-Democrat. Corley added that the animal “definitely lost its fear of humans.”

It might also be possible that animal rights nuts defaced the deer to dissuade hunters, but the facts about the deer may never be known.

“Obviously they thought they were keeping it safe. Maybe going into hunting season, they thought painting ‘pet’ on it, somebody won’t shoot it if it comes by,” Corley said. “That’s just not a good idea by any means.”

Corley added that the MDC investigated the incident on Sept. 27 after receiving reports of the animal roaming the fields in Jefferson County. They have not yet located the animal, though.

“We’re concerned with the health of the deer,” Corley continued. “And nowadays, since we have issues with chronic wasting disease and other disease issues, [interaction] is not safe for humans, and it’s not in the best interest of the animal’s welfare.”

The Sheriff’s office warned of “chronic wasting disease,” as noted above. This is a prion disease — a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The Centers for Disease Control notes that large, hoofed animals like deer, elk and similar animals can carry.

Corley stressed that deer are often negatively affected by constant contact with humans, especially when they are young, often developing behavioral issues. Wild animals should be left in the wild.

“It ends in a bad situation for the deer by taking them out of the wild. They have a lot better chance if you leave them where they’re at and don’t touch them,” Corley concluded.

Chronic wasting disease is far from the only disease deer can carry. They also carry diseases including tuberculosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rabies, and much more.

Indeed, the American Veterinary Association warns hunters that deer are known to carry well over 30 diseases, many of which can be dangerous for humans.

Some of the most common diseases deer carry are Lyme Disease, Q fever, chlamydiosis, leptospirosis, campylobacterosis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, and giardiasis. They can also carry vermin like ticks, parasitic worms, and other insects along with the diseases those creatures can carry.

Deer are called “wildlife” for a reason. Unless you are a licensed hunter looking to take such a creature for a food source, they should be left alone. People need to respect these creatures. They serve an important purpose and are not cute, cuddly pets to be toyed with.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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