FLINT TWP. — Police Chief George Sippert said that through the years he has seen a lot of different characters show up at the police department but a temporary inmate on May 23 was a first.
That’s when officers were called to a home on Cabot Drive where a homeowner had discovered a guest in the garage. It was a fawn that had been there for quite some time, Sippert said.
According to wildlife experts, it is not unusual for a mother deer to leave her baby someplace deemed safe and not return until nightfall, usually within 8 hours.
The Cabot residents waited to no avail. Meantime, officers tried to contact various animal rescue agencies but none were willing to come and get it, Sippert said.
One officer made contact with Saving Tails Animal Rescue of Northville, a group known to him through his in-laws but it also required several hours before it could come for the animal.
As a last resort, officers loaded the fawn into the police car and transported it back to the station where he was locked in the police garage for several hours.
Sippert reported that it was very well behaved. Saving Tails eventually picked up the fawn and since has been working the state Department of Natural Resources to find a home for it, Sippert said.
Hopefully there will be a happy ending.
White-tailed deer are among animals most commonly rescued by well-intentioned citizens, according to a DNR advisory released in April at the start of the wildlife birthing season.
“Please resist the urge to try to help seemingly abandoned fawns or other baby animals,” said Katie Keen, a DNR wildlife technician.
“We appreciate the good intentions of those who want to help, but the animals are better off left alone than removed from the wild,” Keen said.
DNR wildlife technician Holly Vaughn added: “Remember a fawn’s best chance for survival is with its mother. Do not remove a fawn that is not injured from the wild.”
“Fawns rely on their camouflage coat to protect them from predators, while their mother stays off in the distance,” Vaughn said “The mother will not return if people or dogs are present. If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it, just quickly leave it alone. After dark the mother deer will return for her fawn.”
It is not uncommon for deer to leave their fawns unattended for up to eight hours at a time. This behavior minimizes the scent of the mother left around the fawn and allows the fawn to go undetected by predators. While fawns may seem abandoned, they usually are not.
Human scent on the fawn might cause its mother to reject it. Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed on to humans or pets, the DNR advised.
“If you find any baby animal, it should be left in the wild,” said Vaughn. “The only time a baby animal should be removed from the wild is when you know the parent is dead or the animal is injured. Please contact a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator before removing the animal.”
A list of licensed rehabilitators is provided on the DNR website at www.michigandnr.com/dlr/