In the interest of keeping APLNJ people – and all others! — alive and well, this cautionary tale comes your way.
Earlier this month, a woman affiliated with APLNJ heard that a deer and a car were by the side of the road in front of her home. Being the huge-hearted person she is, she ran outside, to learn that the young woman parked there had seen a car in front of her hit the deer and keep moving. So she had pulled over and, joined by a man who also stopped, moved the injured deer from the center of the road to a grassy area nearby.
Our good samaritan – we’ll call her “J” — joined the other two people to try calming the deer, who got to his feet long enough to walk up a little hill – then lay down again. Though he was “amazingly calm,” “J” said, he was bleeding from his nose and mouth and had apparently hurt his leg. One of his antlers had come off. She kept petting his back and face, thinking he was “so sweet” and seemed to know the three people were there to help him.
One of the others had phoned the police. “J” asked if the hurt deer could be moved behind her house to heal, but the officer rejected that idea, saying he would have to shoot him. He did so even before “J” got back inside. As she cleaned up, she discovered quantities of blood on herself and her clothes.
Later, she wondered whether she had done the right thing and if not, what she should have done. What’s the protocol, she asked.
And an area animal control officer answered: If a deer has been injured and can’t get up, it must be “humanely destroyed.” (If an injured deer runs off, that’s that.) “Adult deer are very dangerous,” the ACO said. This one was probably in shock; otherwise, “J” could have been hurt – “sliced up” was the expression. Think sharp hooves. A deer’s foot has two elongated toes capped by a hard, horny toe nail, or hoof.
If a deer lets a human approach or pet him, that’s a dangerous sign. Because deer are prey animals, they see humans and other animals as predators. They’ll choose flight every time, fighting when necessary to escape capture, confinement or cage – all highly stressful for them. Deer have been known to kill themselves battering against enclosures to get free.
Humans trying to “help” injured adult deer make a huge mistake. As for removing the injured deer to “J”’s back yard, only licensed animal re-habbers can legally re-hab a wild animal.
Bottom line, as “J” said afterward: “Think with your head, not your heart!”
(Readers, if you know of other situations when animal activists would be better off backing off, please comment here!)
As a spokesperson for a New Jersey pro-hunting and trapping organization recently found out, you don’t want to spread misinformation about animal issues and wind up on the wrong side of Animal Protection League of New Jersey reps. Two of them recently dealt with Edward J. Markowski’s fabrications about leg-hold traps, raccoons and rabies, effectively giving him and his supporters the old one-two.
First, responding to his November article in the Press of Atlantic City, Susan Russell, APLNJ’s director of wildlife policy, authoritatively disproved his claims.
After that, those commenting favorably on his position were treated to a stinging rebuttal by Janine Motta, APLNJ’s programs director. (Use the following link to reach Russell’s guest column-correction and Motta’s comment.
Since then, State Senator Raymond Lesniak has joined Assemblyman Daniel Benson in co-sponsoring a more comprehensive bill (S2750/A4407) against all such traps. See APLNJ’s website for details on the bill, its reasons and how to support it.
– Pat Summers
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