A Vancouver Island woman keeping a deer as an indoor house pet is “killing the animal with kindness,” according to the wildlife services manager for the B.C. SPCA.

Sara DuBois added the woman’s “Disney-fied” point of view kept her from doing the right thing, which should have been to have the animal rehabilitated when it was found.

Ucluelet resident Janet Schwartz has been taking care of Bimbo, a female black-tailed deer, for the past five years.

“This deer will never associate with other deer and will never have other friends of its own species,” said DuBois. “She’s taking that away from the animal for her own pleasure to keep it as a pet.”

Schwartz has grown attached to the deer and is refusing to let it go, even after receiving a letter from the B.C. Ministry of Environment ordering her to give it up or take it to a rehabilitation centre.

“What we’ve proposed to (Schwartz) is that the collar be removed from the animal, that it may not be restrained in any manner,” said wildlife biologist Kim Brunt. “Leave it up to the deer to make its own decision and give it the opportunity to live out its life as a wild animal, like it was born to.”

Brunt said there are several reasons why the deer should not be kept as a domestic animal, including human safety, disease and feeding the animal inappropriately.

“It’s so unfortunate that this individual made a decision for this animal’s life based on emotional attachment to the animal,” said DuBois.

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