By early next week, charges are likely to be dropped against a couple that nursed a deer back to health. In an exclusive interview with Fox59, the prosecutor said he is just waiting for a formal request from the Department of Natural Resources.
Emotions took over when Jennifer Counceller heard the news.
“I had tears of joy,” said Jennifer Counceller. “I was crying, I was speechless. I was overwhelmed.”
The Councellers took in “Dani” the deer just about two years ago. The fawn was in bad shape after it was attacked by a coyote. The couple nursed the animal back to health, but found out they could go to jail for taking it out of captivity.
“We definitely did not go out looking for a pet deer that night, I think fate brought us to her,” said Jennifer Counceller.
The Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that it plans to drop the charges against the couple. The Councellers said that decision validates their actions.
“The thing that has helped us the most is all of the outpouring of support we have had,” said Jeff Counceller. “We have thousands of new friends out there who have supported us through the whole thing and that has kept us going.”
The fight to free the Councellers took on a global following. A Facebook page dedicated to get charges dropped eclipsed 40,000 signatures. On Twitter, the hashtag #BambiGate gained major traction.
In an exclusive interview with the prosecutor handling the case, Doug Brown said the DNR has to file a formal written request before anything can happen.
“We will give the DNR’s statement on why the charges should be dismissed the same weight that we gave when they felt that the case should have been prosecuted,” said Brown. “That is great weight. Yes, it will likely be dismissed.”
Brown said after clearing the Councellers of wrong-doing, it may be time to take a closer look at Indiana law.
“It is ironic that some in the legislature, maybe even the governor are critical of that and they can fix that in this long session,” said Brown.
Even with all the drama it caused, the couple said they would not have done it any differently.
“I would do it again,” said Jennifer Counceller. “I could never turn my back on a wounded animal. I have no regrets.”