Deputies: 2 Florida men arrested after injured Key deer found in their car

(Photos via Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

Two men in South Florida were arrested Sunday for allegedly kidnapping an endangered Key deer, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said they came across the Miami men – Yoankis Hernandez Pena, 38, and Andres Leon Valdes, 45 – after pulling over their vehicle in Marathon, Florida, for not remaining in their lane.

During the traffic stop, deputies found the injured deer inside the vehicle lying on top of a cooler, lawn chairs and other items.  

The men told law enforcement they hit the deer on U.S. 1 north of the Seven Mile Bridge and initially thought it was dead. MCSO said that area, however, is not consistent with the known Key deer habitat.

The men went on to tell deputies that when they realized the deer was alive, they planned to take it to a veterinarian in Miami for treatment.

The sheriff's office said they admitted to never calling 911, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

They were taken to jail on charges of cruelty to animals and taking, possessing or selling a federally designated endangered or threatened species.

Authorities took the deer to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials on Big Pine Key where it is being treated by a veterinarian. 

If it survives, it will later be released back into the wild. 

The FWC said the Key deer is listed as a federally endangered species. They reportedly use many habitats in the Florida Keys and can only be found from Bing Pine Key to Sugarloaf Key.