NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Wants to Kill Rescued Orphaned Deer!

  • by: Cindy Mcginley
  • recipient: Governor Andrew Cuomo; Marc Gerstman, Acting Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation; Patricia Riexinger, DEC Director of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources; DEC Region 7 Director Kenneth Lynch

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wants me to kill or surrender my deer! I am a licensed Class I Wildlife Rehabilitator and owner of a 12-acre horse farm. I obtained my license so that I could legally heal and release wildlife that may be on my farm and in my surrounding neighborhood, which I have been doing for 8 years. Recently I applied (as is required by law) for a License to Possess for educational purposes two non-releasable does, One of these does has been with me since birth and is now 5 years old. The other doe is a blind yearling.

My application was denied, sight unseen! In fact, the DEC responded by insisting that I either release Deirdre the five-year-old (lock my gates and do not feed or water) or euthanize her, and euthanize Lily the blind yearling, or turn them both over to the DEC (where they will certainly then be put to death).

I obtained my license to help *save* wildlife, not to kill them, and this order goes against everything I believe in. These two non-releasable does are an exception to policy since they are happy and healthy and no threat to anyone, and should be left alone to live out their natural lives in my care, where they are safe and feel secure. To throw Deirdre out into the wild at this point signs her death sentence. To insist on the euthanization of Lily because she can't see is an appalling misuse of environmental law, since she is otherwise healthy and is doing very well in her current environment.

Again, these deer weren't even given the option of going to a wildlife facility other than mine. The older one was only given 3 options: 1) release her and drive her from my property, 2) euthanize her, or 3) surrender her to DEC for disposal. The blind one wasn't even give the first option, but only 2 and 3. Just to be clear.


Please sign my petition to help these two does live out what is left of their natural lives in the safety and comfort of their home, where they are loved and cherished, by demanding that the DEC reverse its decision and grant my License to Possess.

Dear Governor Cuomo, Acting Commissioner Gerstman, and Region 7 Director Kenneth Lynch,


I am a licensed Class I Wildlife Rehabilitator and owner of a 12-acre horse farm in Central NY. I obtained my license in May of 2007 so that I could legally heal and release wildlife that may be on my farm and in my surrounding neighborhood, which I have been doing for 8 years (with my own money, incidentally). However, five years ago a day-old fawn was brought to me whose mother had been hit by a car. This baby bonded to me immediately and became my constant shadow. I had always intended to release her to the wild, but she was never ready -- and that is understandable, considering that she has never really *been* wild. She has been living with horses all her life. Her name is Deirdre. In addition, last fall I was called about a fawn who was wandering aimlessly and the neighbor was afraid she would get hit in the road. This fawn was estimated at approximately 3 months old and was suffering from severe malnutrition after losing her mother. Her name is Lily. She was covered with mites and was just days from death. With the help of my veterinarian, we managed to pull her through. Unfortunately, the blindness caused by her thiamine deficiency did not reverse itself with proper nutrition or thiamine injections, and she seems to be permanently blind. She has been here now for 6 - 7 months. At the end of April 2015, I applied for a License to Possess for these two non-releasable does (as required by law) with the intention of starting a sanctuary for non-releasable deer and other wildlife. (I already rescue horses.) These two does are lovely ambassadors of their species and can help to educate the public about wildlife, and deer in particular.

My application was denied. In fact, the DEC responded by insisting that I either release Deirdre (lock my gates and do not feed or water) or euthanize her, and euthanize Lily, or turn them both over to the DEC (where they will certainly then be put to death). I obtained my license to help *save* wildlife, not to kill them, and this order goes against everything I believe in. These two non-releasable does are an exception to policy since they are happy and healthy and no threat to anyone, and should be left alone to live out their natural lives in my care, where they are safe and feel secure. They live in a large, appropriate, and securely fenced enclosure and do not come in direct contact with the public or other deer. To throw Deirdre out into the wild at this point signs her death sentence. To insist on the euthanization of Lily because she can't see is an appalling misuse of environmental law, since she is otherwise healthy and is doing very well in her current environment.

My license arbitrarily limits my possession of wildlife to 180 days, regardless of species (a limit that was not clearly explained anywhere in the regulations or by officials when I first got my license). As the licensed expert in the trenches (so-to-speak), I had always believed that the release of any animal should be up to the discretion of the rehabilitator and not decided by someone in an office tower in Albany. In any event, certainly these deer should not lose their lives because of what is essentially a lapse in documentation (a paper violation).


The Special Licenses Unit in Albany is inexplicably intent on the destruction of these two harmless does. For what reason? When was common sense removed from environmental decision-making? They are not costing the state anything, financially or otherwise, and the law is exceptionally unreasonable and inflexible regarding this matter. Please help these does live out what is left of their natural lives in the safety and comfort of their home, where they are loved and cherished and can do some good, by demanding that the DEC reverse its decision and grant my License to Possess.


In closing, I ask you to consider the words of Henry David Thoreau: "Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice."


Thank You,


Cindy L. McGinley

Update #55 years ago
Our hearing date was September 8th, but Judge Donald Cerio has not handed down his decision, so we are waiting. He has up to 60 days to decide to save Deirdre & Lily and keep them in their home (and I'm hoping the delay means he is trying to find a way). In the meantime, please continue to share and sign this petition so we show NY what the PEOPLE want in this matter!
Update #45 years ago
To follow progress on FaceBook: Save Deirdre and Lily

Update #35 years ago
The t-shirts are ready! The Save Deirdre & Lily Legal Fund gets $5 from each t-shirt purchased, plus wearing these t-shirts will help raise awareness.
Click Here to Purchase T-shirts for the Save Deirdre & Lily Legal Fund!
Of course the best bang for your buck is still direct donation: Donate to the Legal Fund for Deirdre & Lily
Update #25 years ago
Actor Ian Harding of "Pretty Little Liars" has joined us in raising awareness about Deirdre and Lily https://instagram.com/ianmharding/ , and Brandon Thresher has created a video that you can share with your friends: Save Deirdre & Lily Video. Thanks so much, guys!
Update #15 years ago
Another way you can help is to join us in a letter and telephone campaign...the Governor's office is 518-474-8390 and his direct email is: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us .Commissioner Martens is 518-402-8545 and his fax number is 518-402-8541. Please be polite. For talking points, come to the Save Deirdre and Lily FaceBook page.
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