ONA, W.Va. — The Cabell County resident charged with keeping two deer in his mobile home as pets is defending himself.
It is illegal in West Virginia to confine wild animals, but Ronnie Chapman told WSAZ-TV the deer could come as go as they pleased. The DNR said there was clear evidence the deer were living in the mobile home—including a six-point buck that wildlife police estimated had lived there for at least two years.
“They had straw on the floor, feces all over the place. They had urinated in the straw. The straw was fermenting. It stunk to high-heaven. That’s not domesticating a wild animal. You can’t domesticate these animals,” DNR Police Sgt. Gary Amick told MetroNews.
Chapman said he nursed the six-point buck back to health a few years ago after finding him “bleeding to death” in his front yard. Since then, he claimed the buck and another deer would wander onto the porch and inside the home.
“If you leave the door open, they will follow (my wife) through. They’ll just come in and bum a piece of candy and they’re right back out the door,” Chapman said.
After the DNR released the deer, the spike buck took off into the woods, but the six-pointer was still in Chapman’s yard Tuesday evening.
“I ain’t going to hurt him. He’ll come in rut one day and he’ll be gone. That’s the way I look at it. Nature is going to take its course,” Chapman said.
Chapman appeared in Cabell County Magistrate Court Tuesday and paid $300 in fines and court costs.