Colorado deer rehab centers overwhelmed as their partners close

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) Tom and Cec Sanders are retired, but still have a full time job. They are managing 11 fawn right now who need to be fed four times a day.

It's time consuming and expensive. The couple says they will easily spend thousands of dollars before summer ends just feeding the deer. But they are one of the last lines of defense for orphaned or "kidnapped" fawns.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife sent out several tweets in June, begging people in southern Colorado to leave fawns alone if they find them in the wild. If they are moved, the mother loses track of them and they are considered "kidnapped."

While the Sanders hope to have no fawns to take care of, most of the inductees to Wet Mountain this year have been orphaned. They have to go to Wet Mountain because the previous rehab centers have had to close between the cost and time needed to keep those deer.

“They are needy, very very needy!" Cec admits. "They are fragile, very fragile, very susceptible to stress, diarrhea. They have a very high mortality rate when they are this young.“

The Sanders love what they do, but they can't do it forever. They're worried about what will happen when they retire and the deer have no other option but to euthanize any of them found orphaned or kidnapped.

The process to get licensed to rehab these animals is not easy, but the Sanders tell 11 News it's a rewarding experience, even with no compensation.