In a case that has drawn a great deal of interest, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) in Royal Oak, Mich., has been asked – pending a battery of diagnostic animal health testing – to provide a home for a deer that has been living inside a Genesee County residence for approximately five years, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

Since the DNR learned of the situation, it has been focused on working with the family to find a properly licensed, suitable location for the deer. Officials at the DZS say that, provided the deer is tested and has no health issues, the deer could be relocated to the Detroit Zoo within the next few weeks. It is standard procedure for all new animals at the Detroit Zoo to undergo pre-acceptance health screening to prevent the introduction of diseases to the zoo’s other animals.

The DNR today reached out to the family’s attorney to communicate the news of the Detroit Zoo as a possible home for the deer.

“The Detroit Zoo is frequently asked to help with the rescue of exotic and wild animals in challenging situations and many have found sanctuary here,” said Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit Zoological Society. “We are glad to provide whatever assistance we can to help this deer transition to a new life where she can roam in more open spaces and be surrounded by other animals in a natural setting.”

DNR Director Keith Creagh praised the Detroit Zoo for its willingness to help explore options in this situation.

“From the beginning, folks throughout our department have worked to find the right space for this deer,” said Creagh. “The Detroit Zoo is a world-class facility for animals, and I commend the zoo’s leadership for their willingness to help.”

The Detroit Zoo is accredited nationally by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). As part of the mandatory accreditation process, AZA members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, veterinary care, wildlife conservation, scientific research, education, expert staffing and safety.

Detroit Zoo veterinary staff members are working with the DNR to set up the timing for testing that will include TB, parasites and several other diseases that deer may carry and that may pose risk to other zoo animals. If tests indicate the deer is healthy, plans will be discussed for her move to the zoo.

It is illegal in Michigan to possess a wild animal. No matter how domesticated a wild animal may appear, DNR wildlife biologists say such animals can still pose significant risk to the public. The department has always urged people, especially during the spring when baby animals are more visible, to leave wildlife in the wild. For information on licensed wildlife rehabilitators in Michigan, visit

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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