The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has requested a dismissal of charges against a couple who nursed an injured fawn back to health and kept it in a pen for about two years.
This story about Jeff and Jennifer Counceller of Connersville, Ind., reached the Indiana governor’s office and the state legislature. Although the governor said the DNR had “acted appropriately,” it’s obvious there were some behind-the-scenes maneuvers between the wildlife agency and elected officials.
Why? Because despite the Indiana DNR having regulations about possession of wild animals, the onslaught of negative response and social media outcry has been tremendous. State agencies and elected officials don’t want to look bad, so the easy thing to do is back away.
Now that DNR has formally requested the charges be dismissed, it’s in the attorneys’ hands and they, if they don’t drop the charges, will look like the bad guys.
Pass the buck! In the face of a few thousand Facebook haters and elected officials feeling the heat, the Indiana DNR decides to ignore its science-based policy and basically absolve the couple despite its months-long investigation.
You’d think in the heartland – Indiana isn’t California or New York – the state wildlife agency would stand firm. Either enforce your laws and regulations or don’t make a big fuss out of something to only later back away in the face of public criticism and heat from elected officials.
— Alan Clemons, Managing Editor