5 min read

Kid Saves Baby Deer After The Gov’t Tries to Kill Him

This young deer was just saved from a government hell-bent on ending his life - but that doesn't make the story leading up to his freedom any less bizarre.

Andrew Foots, a farmhand who lives in the Australian state of Victoria, came across the orphaned 4-week-old baby deer last November. Foots knew that the baby deer, who looked weak and hungry, was in need of help and would surely die in the Australian wilderness without it.

The 19-year-old decided to save the malnourished baby deer, whom he named Rudolph, and raise him with advice from a veterinarian.

"The two became inseparable," Pam Ahern, founder of Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary, told The Dodo at the time.

However, all that changed when Australia's Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) showed up at Foots' home.

"The game officers came about a week later and seized the animal, stating it was illegal to take animals from the wild, and that he would face heavy charges and the deer would be killed," Ahern said.

Ahern offered to rescue the deer on behalf of the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary, but was told that the court case - and the deer's execution - would still be pursued for reasons unknown.

Making good on their threat, the gaming officers obtained a court order to kill Rudolph, claiming the infant deer was a public safety risk.

Rudolph was going to be euthanized - but not without a fight.

For the past three months, Foots and a coalition of animal lovers and welfare groups have been campaigning to save the little deer from certain death. Just before last Christmas, Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, stepped in and called for an amendment to Rudolph's death warrant.

The case went all the way to the state's supreme court, where, at the end of last month, the case was shut down and the death warrant torn up.

Throughout the entire process, Rudolph had been kept in an unknown location that the government refused to disclose. But, with his life no longer in peril, he was finally released to his waiting forever home at Jirrahlinga.

Even better, he finally got to see the boy who saved him all those months ago. The sanctuary recently shared photos of Foots and Rudolph's happy reunion after the lengthy legal battle.

"Rudolph's transition is expected to take some time but our dedicated staff will do whatever is required," the sanctuary wrote in a Facebook post.

It's difficult to imagine what Rudolph must have gone through during the entire ordeal, but it's comforting to know that now, thanks to the boy who loved him, he's finally in safe hands.

Consider sponsoring at animal like Rudolph at Jirrahlinga and help the sanctuary continue doing good work.