A Michigan family has won a fight with the state government to keep a deer they have raised since it was a fawn.
The family, whose identity has not been publicly released, rescued the deer, who they named Lilly, five years ago after its mother was hit by a car immediately following her birth, ABC affiliate WXYZ reported.
Because Michigan law maintains that only licensed rehabilitators can legally possess wildlife, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources wanted to remove Lilly from her owners which sparked a wave of outrage on the internet. A change.org petition garnered 16,004 signatures, and an Indiegogo petition that was launched to help the family with legal funds, raised nearly $2,500.
The family’s lawyer, Val Washington, released a statement Monday that a deal had been reached with the Department of Natural Resources after “several weeks of negotiations.”
“Lilly’s caretakers have applied for an Exhibition Class Permit and they will continue to provide Lilly with the love, care, and environment she needs to thrive,” Washington said.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources told ABC News that the permit has an annual fee of $450. Additionally, the family will have to do annual disease testing on Lilly and maintain a suitable fence around their yard.
Washington said the family has paid for the fees for the permit already.
Lilly’s owners released the following statement: “As you can imagine the last several weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us and now that the agreement has been signed we would like to recapture the regular routine of our lives.”