A western Kansas family is outraged after game wardens killed a deer they considered a pet in front of them in a gut-wrenching video.
Kim Mcgaughey, of rural Ulysses, said the mule deer was "very much a big pet" and that there was "no reason for her to be killed."
The deer, named Faline after Bambi's friend in the Disney movie, was allowed inside their house and took walks with the family
But it's illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet in Kansas, and wildlife officials raised concerns that the animal could hurt people or spread disease, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Mcgaughey said neighbors found the deer and that she had an "instant connection" upon meeting the animal. Her daughter, Taryn Mcgaughey, has photos of her 8-year-old son playing with the deer, as well as the animal standing on the couch looking out the window or being hugged by family members.
Game wardens became involved after Kim Mcgaughey asked on Facebook whether anyone had seen the deer when it disappeared for several days. She was issued a ticket for "unlawful possession of wildlife without a permit," said Mark Rankin, law enforcement assistant director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
Three game wardens met at Mcgaughey's house and determined it wouldn't be safe to capture the deer. Rankin said there was also concern that the deer could be carrying chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease for which live deer can't be tested.
Taryn Mcgaughey filmed the wardens herding the animal toward where it was shot.
Department secretary Robin Jennison said he would like the agency to re-examine its policy on euthanizing wildlife, although he's confident the game wardens acted within their authority.
"All of our people have a real heart for wildlife," he said. "I can't imagine any of our employees enjoying something like this."