Georgia wildlife officials cited a couple for illegally having a one-week-old deer fawn as a pet after they were spotted with the animal in the dog-food aisle of a Walmart, authorities said.
Walmart employees contacted the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on May 18 after seeing the couple in the store – the man pushing a shopping cart and the woman holding the tiny baby deer, Saxon Campbell, a first-class game warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources told McClatchy News. The Walmart is located in Grovetown, about 134 miles east of Atlanta.
By the time wildlife officials arrived on scene, the couple had left, he said. But officers reviewed security camera footage and were able to identify a company logo on the man’s T-shirt.
After speaking with the company, Campbell said wildlife officials were able to identify the man, and they went to his home in Appling, Georgia, on May 19.
The man told officials that his dogs had brought the fawn into his yard and that he wanted to take care of it, Campbell said.
It isn’t uncommon for fawns to wander away from their mothers, Campbell said.
“Some fawns are a little more curious than others,” he said.
But it is illegal for people to take them in as pets, he added.
Campbell said the Department of Natural Resources took possession of the fawn, which weighed about three pounds, and took it to St. Francis Animal Hospital in Augusta.
Campbell said that anyone who has a question about the well-being of a wild animal should call local wildlife authorities.
“They should contact their local Department of Natural Resources wildlife division office,” he said. “Especially, don’t take it to Walmart.”