Woman Fights to Keep Deer She Nursed Back to Health

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Nancy Reese, of Morganton, N.C., rescued a fawn from the side of road last June and has cared for it ever since, helping it to regain strength.

Now, Reese says wildlife officers are threatening to take the animal from her property and euthanize it.

"From two in the afternoon to eight o'clock at night, it would try to stand up and try to nurse," Reese told "I let it lay down there all day from two to eight at night, and I went down there and it had blow flies all over it. So I brought it home with me and wiped him off and had to force feed him and gave him the bottle."

The deer is now "fat as mud," she says.

Reese believes the deer, who she named Buddy and keeps in a pen in her front yard, is now 7 months old. But not everyone who knows about Buddy is approving of him being on her property.

"A lot of people know I have this deer. Somebody called and told on me," she said.

It is illegal in North Carolina to keep a deer in captivity, so wildlife officers paid Reese a visit.

"The very first time they came up here they said, 'Ma'am, you have put this deer in harm's way and now it's probably going to have to be euthanized," Reese explained.

READ ALSO: Ind. Officer, Wife Could Face Jail for Saving Deer

But Reese, 51, has grown quite attached to Buddy and is not willing to give up the animal without a fight.

"I was just wanting to raise it back and turn it loose. There's nobody up here. I live in the sticks. I was going to let him loose here," she said. "He has brought so much happiness to my life. I'm disabled and I live here in the mountains by myself and he's just helped me so much."

Reese says two wildlife officials returned to her home again Thursday.

"They said, 'Nancy, we have to get professional deer handlers to come get this deer from your property now.' I said, 'I'm just trying to find a place for it live," Reese explained. "He said, 'You keep doing what you're doing, and we'll be back in touch…. He didn't say he was going to euthanize it.'"

Wildlife officils did not respond to's request for comment, but told ABC News affiliate, WSOCTV they have not made a final decision on Buddy's fate.

Reese claims the officers told her Thursday they'd return in about a week with professional deer handlers to remove the animal.

"I raised it all this time, what's the harm of keeping him here?," Reese asked. "I let him out of the cage, we play together in the front yard and he's never hurt me. He's never done anything wrong. He is just so sweet."

Reese isn't the only animal-lover under scrutiny for rescuing and rehabilitating a deer.

Jeff and Jennifer Counceller, rescued an injured fawn more than two years ago and nursed it back to health at their Connersville, Ind., home. But the couple is now facing possible jail time and fines after state officials charged them with a misdemeanor for harboring the animal.

Jeff Counceller, a police officer in Connersville, and his wife were charged with unlawful possession of a deer, a misdemeanor that punished to its fullest extent could put the Councellers in jail for up to 60 days and cost them up to $2,000 in fines.

However today, the Department of Natural Resources is asking the charges against the Councellers be dismissed.

"After reviewing the matter, Gov. Mike Pence asked the DNR to reevaluate the case," a press release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources stated. "As a result of the governor's request, the DNR has re-examined the case and is seeking dismissal of the charges."

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