Deer are considered wild animals, but one doe means an awful lot to a neighborhood in Dickson County.
Now, after a recent visit from a deputy, they are worried the extra attention they gave to this creature of the forest has it marked for death.
Eddie Loftis and his family talk about the deer as if it is a neighborhood pet.
"She'll come up between our houses, and we'll feed her," Loftis said. "She'll come up, and you can hand feed her apples or bread. She's real particular. She likes you to slice the apples up."
Loftis and his family named the deer Chloe nearly a decade ago when she first wandered into the family's yard as a weeks-old fawn.
Year after year, she continues to return.
"We have also seen her in this dog house when it's pouring down rain when she was little, I guess to get out of the weather," Loftis said.
When it comes to spotting Chloe, she is hard to miss, because she wears a bright orange collar around her neck.
Loftis said he doesn't know who put it on her, but he believes it has saved her in the past from hunters.
Now, he hopes a friendly gesture won't cost Chloe her life by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
"I'm concerned TWRA is going to put her down or do whatever they have to, to take the collar off," he said.
Loftis said a Dickson County deputy recently stopped by the neighborhood and said the TWRA planned to shoot the deer if spotted wearing the collar.
Channel 4 News asked TWRA spokesman Doug Markham if that could possibly be true.
"If this animal becomes a problem, then we'll handle it. Or even if the collar got so tight on the animal's neck that it was causing it problems, we might come out and not necessarily shot it with a bullet, but shoot it with a dart to help it out," Markham said.
That solution sounds lot better to Loftis, who believes Chloe the deer is so rare that everything should be done to save her.
"It's unusual to have a wild animal come up that you can pet on, and we just enjoyed it," he said.
Markham added that it's in a wild animal's best interest if people would not put collars on it. He said the animal should remain wild and not be treated like a pet.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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