Six years ago, an Oregon man rescued a fawn and raised her as a family
pet. So when the state seized the deer, with a threat of euthanasia,
all hell broke loose.
Sept. 19, 2007 - Had he been a hunter, and had the mottled white doe
that tumbled down a hill into his rural Oregon driveway six years ago
been an adult, Jim Filipetti could have ponied up $19, applied for a
deer tag and gunned the animal down. He could have butchered the deer
the state now knows as "Snowball," mounted her head on the wall and
moved on with his life.
But Filipetti chose to raise the injured fawn as a pet, spending
thousands of dollars on veterinarian bills to treat her deformed
hooves, installing strips of carpet throughout his house so she
wouldn't slip on the hardwood floors, and feeding her a steady diet of
sweetpeas, tomatoes and green beans--"the best that Safeway had to
offer," he says. After 12 months, the house painter moved her to a pen
outside his home in Molalla, Ore., but she was still a member of the
family. "It was like having a dog around the house," Filipetti says.
Filipetti uses the past tense because his beloved Snowball has been
seized by the state, which was considering euthanizing her. The story
has outraged local residents and animal-rights advocates.
What's telling is that the neighbors didn't complain. To the contrary,
they took to Snowball, stopping by to feed the tame creature on a
regular basis. "Everybody's got a set of animals somewhere," says
Geordie Duckler, an attorney with the Animal Law Practice, a Portland
specialty law firm that handles livestock disputes, biting incidents
and claims against veterinarians. "It's rural Oregon."