PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN PAVONCELLO/ YORK DISPATCH
John and Terri Stoll say they were confident they were doing the right thing when they helped pull a baby buck out of a freezing lake at Pinchot State Park Saturday morning.
"You don’t want to see anything like that. For us personally, that was just heart wrenching to see, and it just seemed like it was taking so long,” said Terri, of Warrington Township, York County.
They jumped into action after learning of five deer stuck in the lake.
They showed up with supplies until game wardens arrived.
One deer drowned, and another got out on his own.
Three more were pulled out with the help of game wardens and the public, but one was in especially bad shape.
That’s when John and Terri decided to take him home to try and nurse him back to health.
"We wanted to do everything we could to give him a good chance, a better chance, at survival," said Terri.
They say no officials at the scene tried to stop them, but they are now learning they broke the law.
“A lot of times when people intervene with wildlife and people end up unlawfully bringing in wildlife or possessing wildlife, they’re well intentioned people,. They want to help these animals out, give these animals a second chance, but it’s outside the confines of the law,” said Travis Lau, spokesman for the PA Game Commission.
John and Terri are now facing a number of potential citations and subsequent fines.
Even though this deer sadly died about 12 hours after his rescue, John and Terri say their efforts to save him and the consequences are all worth it.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind. It’s so easy but so many people don’t do it and don’t feel that way and don’t think like that. But just a simple act of kindness can save somebody’s life. Even an animal,” said Terri.
John and Terri say they hope the game commission will reconsider the citation, but if not, they say they plan to fight back and plead not guilty.