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Giggles controversy prompts policy proposal

By   /   August 29, 2013  /   3 Comments

By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – Giggles the fawn may not have died in vain.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the fawn’s death in July, Wisconsin officials on Thursday released a modified proposal for dealing with captured wildlife.

NEW POLICY : Wisconsin officials are proposing policy changes for dealing with captured wildlife in the wake of Giggles the fawn's capture and euthanization last month. Photo courtesy of WISN.

NEW POLICY : Wisconsin officials are proposing policy changes for dealing with captured wildlife in the wake of Giggles the fawn’s capture and euthanization last month. Photo courtesy of WISN.

The proposed changes include:

  • After voluntarily collecting an illegally captured wild animal, Department of Natural Resources staff would reintroduce the animal to the wild if it does not pose a threat to public health, the health of wildlife or to the animal itself. In the case of deer, if a deer originates in a Chronic Wasting Disease zone, it could only be reintroduced in a CWD zone.
  • If a wild animal cannot be released immediately  nto the wild, but could be safely released after rehabilitation, it would be taken to a licensed rehabilitator. In the case of deer, following rehabilitation, a deer that originated in a CWD zone could only be reintroduced into a CWD zone.
  • DNR staff would only euthanize a wild animal if it is sick, highly likely to be diseased, or a threat to public health or the health of other wildlife.

The Natural Resources Board will be asked to approved the changes in September.

Officials also want to get lawmakers’ help changing the law:

  • Individuals who illegally hold a captured wild deer would face citations and penalties for illegally possessing the deer. They may be able to keep the deer if they meet a series of regulations to ensure the health of the deer and the state’s deer population as a whole. These include, but are not limited to, specific size and space requirements for an enclosure, health tests administered by a licensed veterinarian and a notification process to both DNR and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

“Removing illegally-held wildlife takes an emotional toll on those holding the animal as well as those whose job it is to enforce the law,” DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said in a statement. “Ideas and opinions from citizens of this state, along with sound science, shape our natural resource laws and policies. I look forward to working with policy makers to improve the way Wisconsin manages wildlife.”

The policy changes stem from a mid-July incident in which an armed team of 16 officials, including some from DNR and local law enforcement, took and ultimately killed Giggles. The fawn was at a Kenosha no-kill shelter.

“I appreciate the hard work from Secretary Stepp and Secretary Brancel and all those involved in examining our captive wildlife laws,” Gov. Scott Walker , said in a statement. “I encourage the Legislature and the Natural Resources Board to carefully consider the recommendations offered by the DNR and DATCP.”

Contact Kirsten Adshead at [email protected]



Kirsten formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • kunukia

    I am glad that changes were made. It was not a pretty incident.

  • Anne D.

    Downsize the DNR and the rest of the government. It’s too big!

  • Franseenit

    The law has forbidden citizens from keeping wild animals and that is as it should be. It is good that these issues are being clarified. Too often people ‘assume’ that babies are abandoned when in fact they are simply hidden by the mother animal. This whole travesty would never have occurred if people would understand and abide by common sense regulations that were already in place.