West Virginia DNR Reportedly Confiscates Family’s Registered Service Deer

by Taylor Cunningham
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The West Virginia DNR allegedly confiscated a registered service deer.

Jodi Miller, the owner of the doe, dubbed Twitch, told her local news station that officers unlawfully took the animal after someone made an anonymous complaint.

A Facebook page for the deer called Twitch Fan Club further explains that a hunter shot the deer when it was in its backyard. Twitch survived, but the incident led to some attention that caused the escalation.

Miller says that she registered Twitch under the USA Service Dog Registration under the breed of “Other.” And she and her family have been raising it since it was two days old. So the family is doing everything they can to get their pet back.

Officials Say Owning a White-Tailed Deer is Unlawful

The DNR, however, is standing its ground. In a press release, Department of Commerce marketing and communications director, Andy Malinoski, said that people cannot own a white-tailed deer under any circumstances.

“On November 9. 2022, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources responded to a complaint involving the illegal possession of a white-tailed deer at a residence located in Summers County,” he said. “The female deer, estimated to be 1 ½ years old, was removed from the residence.

Malinoski shared that the “incident” is under investigation. And he added that anyone who owns an otherwise wild animal as a pet must have a permit. But there are no permits that allow residents to own white-tailed deer in the state.

“Removing and handling wild animals presents a health and safety risk to both humans and wildlife,” he continued. “The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is charged with managing and protecting the State’s fish and wildlife resources for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of its citizens.”

The Owners Fear that the DNR Will Euthanize Twitch

The Twitch Fan Page shows that the deer was fully domesticated and lived both in and outdoors. Miller, who wrote that she has a bad heart, said on the page that Twitch had become her companion after her dog passed away.

Miller found the deer abandoned by her mother because she had a problem with her leg and suffered from spasms. So Miller and her husband took the animal in, bottle-fed her, and eventually, house-broke her.

“Twitch and y’all have watched her grow on here. But as I have lived it she had become my replacement of sorts 4 my beloved dog that I still miss so much,” Miller wrote. “Now I feel like my world has been ripped apart again.”

Another post on the page claims that if the DNR does not return the deer, officials may euthanize her.

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