Deer Freed After Being Kept as Illegal Pet in East Boston Home

It's illegal to keep wild animals like deer as pets in Massachusetts.

The East Boston deer being released into the wild.

The East Boston deer being released into the wild. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Environmental Police

Who keeps a deer as a pet? Apparently someone in East Boston.

A specialized group of Massachusetts Environmental Police officers raided an East Boston home on Wednesday to free a white tailed deer that was being kept illegally as a pet. Members of the department’s Large Animal Response Team used a search warrant to remove the deer after conducting extensive monitoring of the home. Investigators had been monitoring the home for several weeks, according to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. 

The 160 pound deer was immobilized before being removed from the home without incident. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife aided in the relocation of the deer to an undisclosed state forest location where it was release healthy and uninjured. The deer was estimated to be approximately two years old.

“It was monitored until it fully recovered from the effects of the immobilization agent,” said a statement on the police department’s Facebook page.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to keep white tailed deer as domestic pets, but the homeowner in question has not been charged with any wrongdoing because of an opening in their backyard fence. Investigators believe the opening allowed the deer access to the wild at anytime. The residents were cooperative with the capture and removal of the deer, according to those close to the effort.