On Tuesday, August 25th, wildlife officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) showed up at the Proger home. They informed the Progers that it was illegal to keep a wild deer and they wanted to seize Wheezer and then kill him. Jodi refused, and then she called the Ohio SPCA for help. Although Wheezer was technically born in the wild, he was just days old when rescued and he is now domesticated. He is extremely bonded to Jodi and is cared for just like her horses, dogs, and cats.
Ohio outlawed rehabilitation of deer in 2009, thus requiring all injured or orphaned wild deer to be immediately destroyed for the past five years. However, it is legal to breed and hunt fenced-in captive-born deer. The Ohio SPCA believes that the current law preventing rescue and rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wild deer results in needless killing. This was not a situation where the mother deer was going to return. On that fateful day two years ago, Jodi made a choice to save an animal's life when the mother was dead. It makes no sense to snatch Wheezer from his home and take his life.
In the meantime, the fight to save Wheezer’s life has gained national attention after the Ohio SPCA launched a social media campaign and the Progers went public on television. A petition to Governor Kasich and the ODNR has already reached over 15,000 signatures.
Jodi is overwhelmed and encouraged by the public’s support in favor of saving Wheezer. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is expected to make a decision this week on Wheezer. Attorneys have been contacted and the Progers are prepared to go to court if the ODNR attempts to take Wheezer.
Help Jodi and Wheezer - Sign and Share the Petition