Deer Neglected, Kept in Enclosed Area in Schuylkill County

PORTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- According to investigators, a man in Schuylkill County will soon be facing charges for keeping deer in a pen in horrible conditions.

In the backyard of a home near the Porter/Hegins township line in Schuylkill County is a sight many probably aren't used to seeing -- several famished white-tailed deer, inside an enclosed area with tags on their ears.

"About three weeks ago, I received a phone call from a gentleman who said he's never called anything in in his life," Diane Buhl, Schuylkill County Humane Officer said. "But he was so concerned about these deer. They were starving and at the time, he could only see rotten potatoes in there for food."

According to Buhl, the homeowner does have a permit to keep the deer there, but he'll soon be charged because the deer appear to have been neglected. If you look closely, you can see the animals' legs are weak. Their rib cages are visible. Buhl says there are bucks, doe, even fawns who may have lost their mother recently due to these horrid conditions. At least two deer have died since the investigation started.

"When we got here, first off, there was water that was green. There was nothing for them to drink except green water. One container of it and it had a dead squirrel floating in it. There was very little food for them to eat and as you could see in the enclosure, there are no greens at all. Deer are browsers. They need to nibble all day long."

There's no telling when the last time this group of deer was fed, but after seeing the condition of the animals, a kind neighbor fetched some bails of hay. After investigators fetched a search warrant, they were able to get into the space and place some hay around the property. When the deer caught wind of that, they sprung to life and started eating within seconds.

"The next steps are going to be filing charges. We were hoping to speak to the owner to give the owner the opportunity to sign the animals over to us. He would still be charged then, but he would not be burdened with the cost of care."

This isn't the first time officers have been called to that property. Buhl tells us the same homeowner has faced charges before for regulatory issues. A veterinarian was on scene earlier in the day and will return to determine the next steps of action. In order to be moved, the deer may have to be tranquilized. First, the vet has to determine if they are healthy enough.

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