RIO LINDA, Calif., March 27 (UPI) -- California wildlife officials said they removed a deer from the home of a family that kept it as a pet after finding it orphaned as a fawn.
Floracita, a 2-year-old black-tailed doe, was removed Tuesday from the Rio Linda home of Juan Cervantes and his family, The Sacramento Bee reported.
"A deer is a wild animal, not a pet. We keep wild animals wild," Mark Michilizzi of the Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
It took officials at least a half hour to tranquilize the deer so it could be transported to a Rancho Cordova rehabilitation center, where it will get a health checkup and officials will decide its fate, the Bee reported.
Cervantes said he found the fawn, umbilical cord still in place, near a dead doe along a highway.
He said he put the animal in his truck and took it home.
"I bottle-fed her when she was little. It really hurts, and they won't tell us where she will go," Saida Cervantes said.
The deer could be sent to a wildlife rescue facility, department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said.
Since Floracita lived as a pet for two years, "the chances it will be left to the wild are very slim," Michilizzi said.