Family asks why game warden killed pet deer

Faline (KSN File Photo)

ULYSSES, Kan. (KSNW) – A family is speaking out after their pet deer, Faline, was shot by a game warden.

“To see their pet shot, it was traumatizing,” said Taryn Mcgaughey. “It’s terrible.”

Taryn says the deer her mom had cared for, for the past two years, was like part of the family.

“It’s like losing a pet,” she said. “My son, my mom, even my dad, we’re pretty sad.”

Her mother took the deer in after its mother was killed.

This week, she says their pet became the focus of an investigation from the game warden. On Monday, her mom Kim was issued a ticket for having a pet deer.

“Well what I thought was when you get a ticket, you have the right to fight it,” said Taryn, “and they wrote her the ticket and came straight out to the house.”

The family says later that day, a game warden came back saying he would put the deer down.

Kim took cell phone video of the encounter.

“If I go get a search warrant to seize this animal,” said the game warden in the video. “When I come back, I can’t guarantee it’s going to be here. So right now I have what’s called exigent circumstances to come into your property and seize this evidence.”

The family said they asked the game warden if they could vaccinate Faline and give her to a zoo or sanctuary, but the game warden denied their request.

KSN reached out to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. While a representative wouldn’t talk about this specific case, we were told the warden does have the authority to respond to a concern.

“It depends on the situation,” said Ron Kaufman, a spokesperson with the department. “The officer may make that call right there, by himself, or they may first consult with a supervisor or other officers.”

Kansas law does have a statute on domesticated deer but says you must have a permit from the animal health commissioner.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to possess domesticated deer unless such person has obtained from the animal health commissioner a domesticated deer permit.” – Kansas Statute 47-2101

RELATED LINK: Domesticated Deer

State law also says, “the department is hereby empowered and directed to seize and possess any wildlife which is taken, possessed, sold or transported unlawfully.”

RELATED LINK: Seizure of wildlife, devices, equipment and firearms

Still, the family wants to know why they weren’t given a chance to relocate their pet before she was put down.

“I just want justice for our deer and our family,” said Taryn.