Florida Keys man welcomes Key deer into home, feeds them, watches Fox News with them, FWC says

Thomas Scancarelli, 61, arrested on 32 misdemeanor charges
Facebook screen grabs from FWC warrant for Thomas Scancarelli feeding Key deer
Posted at 11:02 AM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 11:03:24-05

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. — A Florida Keys man was arrested Wednesday after he opened his home to a group of federally protected Key deer, letting them roam inside, where he fed them and watched Fox News with them, authorities said.

Thomas Scancarelli, 61, of Big Pine Key, was arrested by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He faces 32 misdemeanor counts of violations related to endangered species.

According to the FWC arrest warrant, Scancarelli let the deer into his home, recording or photographing them on 16 occasions and posting the encounters on social media.

In a Jan. 12 Facebook post, Scancarelli described how one deer became so comfortable with him, "it's watching Fox news with me now."

Screenshot from Thomas Scancarelli's Facebook page referencing Key deer watching Fox News
This screenshot from Thomas Scancarelli's Facebook page is used as an example in the arrest warrant. In the caption, Scancarelli says a deer is watching Fox News with him.

The post accompanied a video showing him hand-feeding a deer.

"Can't make this s--- up," he wrote.

In another video posted two days earlier, Scancarelli is heard admonishing the deer for rummaging through his garbage and banishing them to their "room."

"Go to your room," he said.

In a video posted on Jan. 3, Scancarelli is seen teaching a deer "stupid animal tricks," as he wrote in the accompanying caption.

Screenshot of video showing Thomas Scancarelli feeding Key deer and getting it to perform 'stupid animal tricks'
This screenshot of a video posted on Thomas Scancarelli's Facebook page is used as an example in his arrest warrant. It shows him feeding a Key deer and getting it to perform "stupid animal tricks."

A search of Scancarelli's Facebook page shows that he has been welcoming the deer into his home since at least November.

In a Nov. 23 video, Scancarelli is heard saying, "Maybe I'll make him a nice little cocktail. You want a cocktail? What would you like? Vodka watermelon? Lime? What do you want?" He goes on to say that the deer are "waking me up in the bed."

Key deer are endangered species, therefore making it illegal for anyone to handle or feed them.

Scancarelli was being held in a Monroe County jail Friday morning on a $32,000 bond.