Wildlife officials are hoping to ease concerns after an Okotoks woman claimed she had been trying to get help for an injured deer in her yard for months to no avail.
Rebecca Vetter said a deer had been hobbling around her property almost daily since July and appeared to be in a great deal of pain. She contacted multiple agencies requesting help and for the suffering animal to be euthanized.
But local and national rescue agencies suggested the injured animal should be left alone and is likely on the road to recovery.
“The bad news is that you can’t bring them in to a rehab centre, the stress kills them,” Carol Kelly with central Alberta’s Medicine River Wildlife Centre said Tuesday. “As long as you see it getting up and moving around a bit, eating and the body condition looks good the deer will likely recover.”
“The animal is not starving. It is in very good body weight.”
The Humane Society International of Canada also agreed and said that if the animal had been injured in July, it might actually be healed by now.
In terms of whether the animal is suffering, Kelly said Vetter need not worry.
“They have this amazing pain tolerance that we don’t have… they don’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves.”
Kelly referenced one story out of Sylvan Lake where a deer they were monitoring was hit by a vehicle several years ago.
“Its leg was dangling and actually fell off,” Kelly said. “The next season, the deer had twins three different times.”
Kelly suggested it might take three to five months for the deer’s ankle to heal and hoped Vetter would take reassurance in the fact that the animal had chosen her yard for its recovery.
“They usually choose a yard that they feel comfortable in and they will stay there until they feel better.”
The office of Alberta’s Solicitor General issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“It is not unheard of for deer to receive a leg injury when attempting to jump over a fence or suffer other injuries in the urban environment. Officers have responded to several calls about injured deer in the Okotoks area over the past few months. In these cases, if the deer is mobile and able to eat, it will be given ample time to recover rather than be put down. Deer are resilient and many are able to overcome these injuries naturally. There are other deer in the area that live healthy lives on three legs. Up to this point, and aside from the leg, this deer appears to be in good health as it has been mobile, continued to feed, and does not appear underfed. Residents are encouraged to phone the local fish and wildlife district office if the deer is seen again, and officers will reassess the deer’s condition as soon as possible.”