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Lilly the deer can stay in her Genesee County home

State wildlife officials have agreed to let a Genesee County family keep its pet deer.

Lilly the deer was born shortly after her mother was struck and killed in an auto accident.   

A family took the animal in and for the past five years has raised it as a pet.  Lilly has the run of the house and the fenced-in yard.

But it’s against the law in Michigan to keep a deer as a pet. After receiving a complaint, the Department of Natural Resources tried to remove Lilly from the home.

Attorney Val Washington represents the family. He says Lilly couldn't survive away from the family.

“She’s never known any other environment other than the family that she’s been with for five years,” says Washington, “She wouldn’t know another deer. She wouldn’t know how to fend for herself.”

The DNR has agreed to allow the family to keep Lilly the deer as long as they apply for a state permit to keep deer.

Washington says Lilly will be maintained as “a herd of one” in the family’s home.

Here's a video from ABC News about Lilly's story:


*Correction: It was brought to our attention that a previously posted video was actually not a video of Lilly the deer nor did it depict the family who has cared for Lilly. We've replaced the video with one from ABC News. We apologize for the error.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.