Vancouver man sends $100 to support Ucluelet woman's pet deer
- By Sarah Douziech, Canwest News ServiceAugust 29, 2009Comments (1)
UCLUELET — The groundswell of support for a local woman and her pet deer reached a new height this week when Ucluelet's mayor received a cheque on her behalf in the mail.
"I just thought it was cute as [heck]," Russcher said of the gesture from a Vancouver resident.
Along with the regular postcards and letters of support for 67-year-old Janet Schwartz, of which he says he's received dozens, Mayor Eric Russcher found a note with a cheque for $100 in his district office mail bin Thursday.
The note reads: "Would you see Janet Schwartz gets this small amount to get her electricity hooked up and a bag of carrots for Bimbo."
Russcher said Schwartz can't access power where she lives, but will likely use the money to buy gas for the generator that runs her home.
Bimbo the deer was domesticated after Schwartz rescued it as a fawn five years ago when its mother died. It is fed human food and sleeps in a bed at Schwartz's rural residence near Salmon Beach, close to Ucluelet.
After receiving a complaint about the situation, the provincial environment Ministry conducted an investigation and denied Schwartz a wildlife permit, telling her Bimbo could not legally be kept domesticated.
Schwartz, who has said the deer is like a child to her, took her story to the media.
Soon after phone calls and emails in support of Schwartz keeping her pet flooded Russcher's phone line and inbox.
"A whole bunch of people are saying, what are you doing, leave the darn deer alone," Russcher said, who added he still gets daily calls and emails.
A Facebook group called "Save Bimbo the deer," now 940 members strong, say releasing the deer into the wild would be "a certain death sentence."
Russcher himself, along with other local supporters have been sending letters to the government, asking them to make an exception for Schwartz and allow her to keep her deer.
But the government says it doesn't intend to remove the deer, it just wants to make the circumstances more acceptable.
"We look at all these situations individually and in this case we're focused on compliance versus enforcement," Ministry of Environment spokesperson Matt Gordon said.
The request is for Schwartz to reconsider her actions-feeding the deer a human diet and keeping it on a leash-but Gordon added they are not imposing a deadline for compliance.
"We want to work with this individual to reach an outcome that is satisfactory to everyone."
The ministry has received seven letters about Bimbo they are currently responding to and Gordon said they recognize that many people feel for Schwartz's situation.
Russcher has only spoken with Schwartz once since the news broke about her situation, but said she's aware of the outpouring of support.
"She says they're putting a few regulations on her, but says they're easy enough," he added.
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