State Environmental Police on Wednesday executed a search warrant in East Boston to remove a deer they suspected was being kept as a pet in a person’s back yard.
In a post on Facebook, Environmental Police said that officers and members of the agency’s Large Animal Response Team, or LART, successfully immobilized the white-tailed deer in East Boston and later set the animal free in an undisclosed state forest.
The deer was monitored by state animal experts until it fully recovered from the effects of the immobilization agent, officials said.
Officials from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife assisted with the capture and release, according to the Facebook post. They determined that the deer was healthy and uninjured.
Environmental Police for several weeks had been surveilling the residence where the two-year-old female deer was located before rescuing the animal, they said.
It is illegal in Massachusetts, which has some of the strictest laws in the country for owning wildlife, to keep a white-tailed deer as a domestic pet.
Female deer can weigh anywhere between 70 and 150 pounds, according to the state’s website. Police estimated that the deer in East Boston weighed 160 pounds.
The property owner was not issued a citation, because officials later found an existing hole in the fence to the yard which may have allowed the deer access to the property.
Officials from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife did not respond to inquiries about assisting with the search warrant and removal of the animal.
White-tailed deer are abundant in Massachusetts. Four days of deer hunting were approved in the Blue Hills State Reservation in October last year to deal with deer overpopulation there.
Controlled hunting took place in November and December. Hunters killed at least 120 deer. The effort marked the first time in more than 100 years that the state allowed deer hunting in that area.
Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.