December 3, 2014
by Joe Murnane
Volunteer, Saving Trooper
P.O. Box 461
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050
of the Ohio Senate
H. B. 490
Chairman Hite and Members of the Committee, thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of the Members of Saving Trooper and its over 17,000 petition signers. Saving Trooper was formed in 2013 to support the efforts of the late Carol Deyo, a former vet tech who found two severely wounded deer and nursed them back to health.
Unfortunately, under current law, Ms. Deyo’s humanitarian efforts were illegal and she was marked for criminal prosecution by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Ms. Deyo spent the last year of her life fighting to save these two deer and her raccoons from destruction by this state agency. Luckily, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources came to its senses, a settlement was offered and accepted, the animals were spared, and Ms. Deyo avoided prosecution.
Now, the same state agencies that sought to criminalize the late Ms. Deyo’s actions are asking you to remove this deer sanctuary language from the bill, that was passed, without any opposition by the Ohio House. Their arguments are without merit as I will explain.
First, this amendment is not about rehabilitating deer and releasing them back into the wild as others have testified. The language of the amendment was very narrowly crafted to apply to only those deer that are too injured to ever be returned to the wild. In fact, the language specifically prohibits any licensee from releasing the deer back into the wild.
Second, this amendment will not lead to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). There has been only once case to date of this disease, found on a Holmes County deer hunting preserve. In addition, because these injured deer will never be released to the wild, they are not likely to spread the disease.
Third, this amendment will not enable to allow individuals to have pet deer in their back yards. The bill specifically authorizes the Director of the Department of Agriculture to establish rules and criteria for the licensing of the individuals and the facilities that will hold the deer. In fact, the Department of Agriculture is already well versed in the licensing, regulation, and inspection of captive deer hunting preserves. These hunting preserves are much larger operations and have many more deer than any likely deer sanctuary.
I would urge you to retain this amendment to the bill as passed, without opposition, in the House. Thank you and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.