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B.C. vet desperately seeking sanctuary for injured fawn facing euthanasia

An Okanagan veterinarian says a fawn with a broken leg needs surgery, but the more pressing issue is finding a licensed sanctuary for the young deer. Submitted

Time is running out for Gilbert the fawn.

And if help isn’t found soon, the Okanagan veterinarian who’s trying to keep the young deer alive will soon face the hard choice to euthanize the animal.

Dr. Moshe Oz says the fawn, now named Gilbert, was brought to Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital with a broken front leg — an open fracture he said can’t be healed.

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Oz says the leg can be amputated or a prosthetic leg can be attached, but that’s not the problem.

The issue, he says, is afterwards, when the deer will need a licensed sanctuary to call home. Without a home, Gilbert will have to be put down.

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Further, that home has to be found by the end of Wednesday.

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“The deer cannot be in the wild, so we have three options,” said Oz, referring to amputation, a prosthetic leg or euthanization.

“The most practical, and the most common thing to do, is to euthanize the deer. I understand that this might be the right thing to do, but the way I look at, why not try [to save Gilbert’s life]?”
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Oz says he’s been in contact with a person who created a prosthetic for an elephant. Gilbert would be the third deer in North America with a prosthetic leg.

The vet added that he will fly that person in from the U.S. to measure and create the prosthetic.

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“It’s not about money, because I will take care of it,” said Oz, noting Gilbert is receiving antibiotics and lots of love. “I’m not asking for money, not at all.

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“We need a licensed sanctuary with the knowledge of how to deal with deer, and, of course, can do the rehab.”

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Oz said provincial rules regarding wild animals mean Gilbert can only spend so many hours in human care.

“At the end of the day, we need a licensed sanctuary, a place to go,” he said. “Without a place to go, I cannot do the surgery.”

He noted that “nobody can guarantee that the surgery will be successful and the deer will survive the surgery.”

“The option to put him down might be the option we will choose, but why not try?” he said.

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“At least we can say we tried, we gave it the best [shot] we could.”

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Oz said any type of sanctuary that wants to take Gilbert would be most welcomed.

“This is the only way to save the deer.”

To contact Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, phone 250-769-9109.

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