(UPI) -- An elderly man who was keeping seven deer as pets has been charged with illegally possessing the animals by enforcement officers from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources after one of the bucks attacked him and blinded him in one eye.
In addition to being severely injured during the attack, Julius Dunsmore, 69, is looking at fines of up to $500 per count.
Kevin Dodd, the enforcement chief with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF), said the deer were put down because they cannot be reintroduced to the wild after being held in captivity by humans.
"Illegally held captive deer in Alabama have caused numerous serious injuries and one fatality in recent years," Dodd said.
According to a WFF press release, "When Dunsmore entered the holding pen, a large buck attacked him. In addition to numerous puncture wounds and extensive bruises, Dunsmore suffered a loss of vision in one eye."
The WFF prohibits individuals from keeping wildlife in captivity in order to ensure the safety of the public. "Even small wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks and foxes can carry a wide variety of parasites and pathogens that can prove fatal to domestic animals and humans," Dodd said.
Domesticated bucks pose an additional danger because they get especially aggressive during breeding season.
"At certain times of the year, it's natural for bucks to fight among themselves," Dodd said. "When you put them in captivity, they do the same thing with humans. Does can also inflict serious injuries by kicking."