INCREDIBLE JOURNEY: Pet Deer Makes 50-Mile Journey Home

INCREDIBLE JOURNEY: Pet Deer Makes 50-Mile Journey Home

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By Lauren Vargas

Kenneth Webster has what you would call a "unique" family pet. Her name is Bambi, and yes, she's a deer.

"I found her on the side of Highway 43 lying beside her mother," said Webster. The mother was killed by a car. "I thought she was dead too until I walked up to her and she picked her head up."

That was four years ago. Bambi's been part of the family ever since, living comfortably in their fenced-in yard in Wilmer.

"She gets 50 dollars a week worth of food, if not more," Webster said, describing the doe's diet of fresh fruit, grains, and water.

There's only one problem. Keeping wild animals as pets is illegal in Alabama.

"Somebody called and reported seeing her," said Webster.

Keith Gauldin, a Wildlife Biologist at the Alabama Department of Natural Resources enforced the law. He tranquilized Bambi, and they dropped her off at a sort of "deer sanctuary" fifty miles away on Mason Ferry Road.

"It's not really us being the bad guys," said Gauldin. "It was their mistake when they first captured the deer as a youngster, so he shouldn't have done that in the first place, and we wouldn't have had a problem."

Little did they know, Bambi was homeward bound. Kenneth Webster was at work at the time, when his neighbors called with the unbelievable news: Bambi was back at his front gate.

Neighbor Joey Hall spotted Bambi on their street.

"We got a little fence in our backyard, so we put it there," said Hall. "My dad went and called him, told him we had his deer."

Nearly two weeks later, the domesticated doe is back home in the Webster's yard. But her chances of staying there are slim.

"We have a regulation in place that prohibits that, that keeps the general public from keeping any species of wildlife in captivity, so, unfortunately the law is the law," said Gauldin.

"You can see the scratches on her from the travel," said Bambi's owner. "I don't know what all she went through, and only God knows what all she went through to make it back, but she made it back, so why not leave her alone?" said Webster.

Kenneth Webster says it's a miracle Bambi made it back alive. He worries she won't have the instincts to survive on her own.

Gauldin says they plan to enforce the law and confiscate Bambi once again. This time, they may take it someplace different.

News 5 will continue to follow this story and let you know if the State decides to make an exception, or if they take Bambi a second time.

UPDATE: Supporters of the Websters have created a petition to help the family keep their pet deer. 

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