Fawn dies after mistreatment by local family

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke told WSLS10 a baby fawn died after being mistreated.

A local family, who thought they were doing good, spotted the fawn alone and took the animal to their home. This happened a week after a bison calf died at Yellowstone National Park after tourists took the animal out of its element.

The Wildlife Center said situations like these are not uncommon.

"She wasn't moving and she was barely calling," said Lydia Hoepper, a staff member at the Wildlife Center.

"She was all wet," said Ben Reichenbach, who also works at the center. "I think the people that brought her in tried to give her some water just to do anything to help, but she was soaking wet and cold."

Due to the fawn's condition, we are not allowed to show photos of the actual animal.

Veterinarian student Ben Reichenbach said he tried to save the fawn by using heating pads.

Reichenbach said the animal was malnourished; it's hooves were painted with nail polish and it's body temperature was 12 degrees lower than normal.

"We were trying to bring her back little by little and as soon as her body temperature got back to normal...she went downhill pretty fast," said Reichenbach.

After 3 hours of trying to save the animal, the Wild Life Center said the fawn died from mistreatment from the family who may have thought they were "rescuing" the young doe.

"A lot of people don't understand deer's natural history, especially with younger babies they can't follow the mom effectively,' said Hoeppner, "so, a lot of times if they were trying to follow the mom during the day they would be a risk for predation, so, mothers will bed the fawns down during the day, and then the mom will come back and feed intermittently."

"To do what's right for the wildlife you have to give it the proper care or leave it alone -- not take it into your home to use it as something for your children to play with," said the Wild Life Center's Director, Sabrina Garvin.

The center said it takes in several fawns that die each year die because humans intervene with their natural habitat.