Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Man who looked after deer is trying to save its life

RUDOLPH the deer has melted the heart of a young man, but authorities want it dead, right before Christmas.
Andrew Foots, of Mansfield in northeast Victoria, nursed Rudolph back to health after finding his skeletal body in bushland at Goughs Bay.

He fed it milk and even let Rudolph sleep in his bed.
But the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources seized the deer and have since put it in a secret location.
The department won a court order last week, granting it permission to kill the deer.
But Mr Foots, 19, and Phoenix Legal Solutions principal Daniel Beecher are doing everything in their power to overturn the decision and give Rudolph back his life.
“I think the question is, why is the department so keen to kill this deer?” Mr Beecher said.
“There was a nonlethal alternative available — Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary said they would look after Rudolph.”
About 40,000 deer are hunted in Victoria every year and Mr Beecher said orphaned animals often died from starvation.
“That’s exactly what would have happened to this deer if Mr Foots didn’t take it home,” he said.
Andrew Foots sleeps in his bed with Rudolph, the deer he nursed back to health.
Andrew Foots sleeps in his bed with Rudolph, the deer he nursed back to health.Source:Supplied
Despite the sanctuary offering to take the deer into its care, the department said the animal would be too dangerous once released in the wild.
It is believed deer pose a public safety risk as they see humans as equals and competitors.
They have been known to attack humans, particularly during the breeding season.
A Game Management Authority spokesman said it was not appropriate to comment on the case as an appeal was before the courts.
“People must not take animals from the wild, it is illegal and often results in poor animal welfare and outcomes,” he said.
Mr Beecher said the government department’s stance was “ridiculous”.
“All animal sanctuaries deal with animals that are potentially dangerous, like snakes, and that’s a risk they manage through proper practices,” he said.
“To say Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary wouldn’t be able to manage the risk properly is ridiculous.
“When the department found out there was a sanctuary willing to take the deer it should have been the end of story.
“Mr Foots didn’t envisage the deer would be with him forever, he was an interim carer until a sanctuary became available.”
Mr Foots sought advice from a vet on how to best care for Rudolph and Mr Beecher said it was distressing for the young man, not knowing where Rudolph was being kept.
It is believed the department is keeping the deer’s whereabouts a secret in fear somebody will steal it.
“It’s very difficult to accept the department’s approach of them persisting with an application to destroy the deer,” Mr Beecher said.
Mr Foots appeal will be heard in Shepparton County Court on February 18.

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