Save The Orphaned Fawns

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Hundreds of fawns are killed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife every year! Some are shot outright, while others are placed in the woods to die a slow death. Why? Because they are orphaned or injured. 

The state will not allow these babes to be rehabilitated by certified wildlife experts, instead they are sentenced to death. What’s more, anyone caught helping a fawn could be subject to steep fines and criminal charges - and the fawn is killed!


We are petitioning Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to place a cease and desist order on ODOW to end its reign of terror. 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz and Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) Chief Kendra Wecker are to blame for continuing this cruel policy against these innocent animals. 

We are calling for the Governor to immediately reopen fawn rehabilitation and to abolish the ODOW’s cruel hands-off policy that makes it a crime for Ohioans to help an injured or orphaned fawn.

The ODOW outlawed compassion for God’s creatures by closing all fawn care and rehabilitation in 2009. There is absolutely no place in the state of Ohio to legally take an injured or orphaned fawn for care. Ohioans must choose between violating their own conscience and violating the law by helping a fawn. This is not only unconstitutional, it promotes apathy and disregard toward one of our state’s most treasured assets, its wildlife.

Fawn rehabilitation and release exists in nearly every state of the nation, except ours. 

Ohio’s current policy requires certified wildlife rehabilitators to dump fawns in the woods within 72 hours, which is nothing but a slow and painful death sentence for the animal. Placing an injured or orphaned fawn in the woods to “let nature take its course” or to “find a foster” is an ungodly cruel act, and the ODOW is aware of this. The fawn lays or wanders in the heat of summer taking fly strike after fly strike, then being slowly consumed alive by maggots for days before succumbing, or, more mercifully, is eaten by coyotes or some other predator. The chance that another doe will “adopt” a random fawn is slim to none. 

Fawns - innocent, helpless babies that pose no threat to anyone, are subjected to this extreme cruelty for merely being born in Ohio.

The ODOW claims that this policy was created to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. However, not a single case of CWD has ever been found in Ohio’s wild deer population. This policy would in no way would stop the spread of CWD, regardless, as Ohio’s wildlife rehabilitators are the eyes and ears of the ODOW. Allowing trained wildlife experts to rehabilitate fawns provides the opportunity to observe and report any signs of illness to the ODOW, as certified wildlife rehabilitators are required to do.

Compassionate Ohioans have been forced into hiding fawns in their care like common criminals. Instead of having trained wildlife rehabilitators treat and eventually release wild deer, Ohioans are caring for fawns in their backyards and garages. They live in fear that the ODOW will discover them and kill the animals in their care, which is the agency’s typical resolution.

The ODNR and ODOW should be reprimanded for enacting and enforcing such cruel, senseless and self-serving policies. Governor DeWine, do not disappoint the Ohioans who voted you into office. We implore you to do the right thing.

God help any fawn born in the state of Ohio.

By signing this petition I am imploring Governor Mike DeWine to:

1. Legalize the existence of privately funded (unsupported by tax dollars) rehabilitation and sanctuary facilities in the State of Ohio in order to aid injured and orphaned fawns and young deer.
2. Mandate that no government department, persons or state officials are permitted to kill a fawn or deer that is under rehabilitation or has been rehabilitated.
3. No government department, persons or state officials are permitted to kill a tame or domesticated deer due to human involvement deemed necessary for survival of the animal while rehabilitation was unavailable due to ODOW policy.
4. No government department, persons or state officials is permitted to kill a tame deer that lives in the wild and has become accustomed to humans.