An Alabama man has been charged with illegally keeping deer as pets, including one buck that mauled and partially blinded him.
State wildlife officials said Friday that they charged Julius Dunsmore with illegally possessing seven deer.
Dunsmore said that he has kept deer as pets for years without any problems. He walked into a holding pen on Nov. 30 and was attacked by a large buck that he adopted after its mother was killed by a car. The deer's antler severed the optic nerve leading to an eye.
Authorities killed the deer because once they are held by humans, they cannot be released to the wild, Al.com reported. They are awaiting lab results to determine if the animals were infected.
Dunsmore, 69, said deer are extremely dangerous and he cautioned anyone from keeping them as pets. Wildlife officials said bucks sometimes attack during the breeding season.
"Illegally held captive deer in Alabama have caused numerous serious injuries and one fatality in recent years," Kevin Dodd, an enforcement chief with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, told Al.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report