Charges in Dani the deer case to be dropped

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Charges against a Connersville couple who took in an injured deer are expected to be dropped Thursday.

Prosecutors in Decatur County have received the appropriate paperwork from the Department of Natural Resources and will file a motion to dismiss the charges.

DNR officials said Friday that they had asked prosecutors to drop the charges against Jeff and Jennifer Counceller. The couple took in a fawn named Dani in 2010 after finding the animal was injured.

Prosecutors have been waiting for paperwork from the DNR explaining the reason behind the request.

The couple said the deer would have died if they hadn’t taken it in and nursed it back to health. They believe a coyote had badly injured the fawn, and feared Dani would die without help.

A conservation officer told them it is illegal to possesses a wild animal without a permit and that the best option would be to abandon the fawn and leave it in a wooded area.

After they were still found to have the deer without a DNR permit, the case was turned over to prosecutors. A grassroots movement built on Facebook in support of the couple. Some even called for Gov. Mike Pence to step in.


  • Gary B

    They found this deer hurt in 2010….. hello…..anyone out there? Why didnt they turn it in ???? how about turn it loose?? Why are we saying …. oh darn … its ok? Did it take over two years to recover?? I dont think so… why is DNR bending? This is the worst thing I have ever heard of about DNR..

    • Guest

      I was thinking the same thing Gary. Maybe they had good intentions but they can't escape the fact that they had a deer in their possession. It wouldn't take 2 years for the deer to heal. I could understand if they only had it for a short period of time, but 2 years sounds a little much. And if he is a police officer he would have known the laws. I'm a little confused there. Sounds to me the DNR is backing down because of all the bad publicity. So does this mean all previous violators get their money back? If they can have their charges dismissed by getting the public involved, I think everyone else should have the same right. Then isn't Mr. Councellor contradicting his job?

  • TCTucker

    This baffles me people talking about helping WILD animals but they kept it caged for how long?????? Why did they not go public then???? You would think they would want to help people and animals that could get in the same situation?
    Not everyone is meant to take care of wild animals. People trained in rehabilitation know when and how a deer should be released. If Indiana changes their laws on this (which is supposed to be looked at next year) have fun with all the wild life that wonders into residential neighborhoods and get ready for a lot of sad news stories.

    • TCTucker

      Believe I am an animal lover(wild and domesticated) and them taking care of 'Dani' when they could not find help is great but there is a right way and a wrong way. The right way helps protect humans from being injured and giving a wild animal a better chance of survival once released.

  • Guest

    Not too long ago a deer had strayed into a neighborhood and saw his reflection in a window. He attacked the window and busted into the house. What if a child had been behind the window? Is it ok now to put people’s lives in danger because someone wants to rescue a baby deer when the deer population is over populated as it is? Tame deer are more prone to walk into neighborhoods because they don’t fear humans and will continue to do so. So what happens now that we decided that’s its ok to keep tame deer? I can tell you right now that if my family or children become injured because we let people get their way there will be a law suite and someone will go to jail. I thought we had laws for a reason. You want to help injured animals great but take them to a rehabilatator who knows what they’re doing.

  • Guest

    How can the governor one minute support the state’s actions and then dismiss them? So along these people broke the law but because the public “thought” it was best they dropped the charges? Everyone think about that when you “not knowingly” break the law. Make up a sob story and get the public to make up a fb page and you should get off? Explain to me why we have laws again?

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