A central Indiana family unsuccessfully nursed their beloved pet deer back to health, after what was supposed to be a memorable moment caught on film turned violent and nearly deadly. What happened even launched a police investigation, WISH-TV, Indianapolis, reported.

People travel for miles to see Anthony, the deer. They hand feed him and pet him. He’s been a part of the Hidden Paradise Campground and Petting Zoo near St. Paul, Ind., for 10 years and one moment over the weekend almost ended his life.

Anthony is a 10-year-old buck who was hand fed from birth by Lynn Pahl, the owner of Hidden Paradise campground and petting zoo.

“Anthony will lick your fingers he’ll lick all over you, he loves people.” says Pahl.

Anthony is the main attraction at the Hidden Paradise petting zoo. People pet and feed Anthony through the fence, and Anthony seems to love it.

But one camper, Andrew Sweet of Rushville, decided he wanted a closer look at Anthony. Sweet told police he wanted his buddies to capture the moment on camera. Investigators say Sweet climbed the fence that is more than 10 feet tall to get into the deer enclosure and take a picture with Anthony. But Sweet claims Anthony attacked him, so in self-defense he used his knife to stab the deer in the neck.

Daryl Leach, a camper, pets and feeds Anthony and doesn’t worry about his 2- and 3-year-old grandchildren petting him either. “And you could see that all of us pet him. He said the animal was vicious. And attacked him and come after him. So, I just can’t see the animal being vicious. The guy had to do something to him.”

Sweet was questioned by the Decatur sheriff’s deputies who investigated and turned the case over to the Decatur County prosecutor, William Smith, who says Sweet’s “foolishness and bad judgment may leave him liable to the owner for civil damages, but is not a criminal offense.”

Anthony underwent surgery Monday (Sept. 13) and died.