Low tide yields more than seaweed Wednesday morning...

Camden police come to rescue of injured fawn at head of the harbor

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 11:15am

Story Location:
15 Atlantic Avenue
Camden, ME 04843
United States

    CAMDEN — A fawn with an obvious broken leg is on its way to Vassalboro this morning after Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne rescued it off the rocks and seaweed at the head of Camden Harbor.

    Camden Harbormaster Steve Pixley said he got a call from Jim Metcalfe, a relief captain of the schooner Lazy Jack II, about the injured fawn Wednesday morning.

    "Jim said it looked injured, and that it was laying on the rocks below the boathouse on Atlantic Avenue," said Pixley.

    Gagne, Animal Control Officer Jeff Sukeforth and Officer Allen Weaver found the fawn on the rocks, its back left leg noticeably broken at the knee joint and unusable. It was low tide, giving the fawn and the officers' access to the rocks below the building.

    As Gagne began to move in closer, the fawn slipped and hobbled its way around a corner of the boathouse where it could access the underside of the adjacent structure.

    "When I saw it slip on a piece of wood, I knew it was my chance to grab it," said Gagne, after he emerged with a large wriggling fawn clutched in his arms.

    Before Gagne and Sukeforth made their way back around the building, the loud bleating of the fawn caught people's attention as they passed by docks, worked on the schooners and walked along the shore of Harbor Park. it sounded a bit like someone screaming, but not really in a human way. And luckily for this fawn, help was in the cards.

    Soon enough, the source of the unhappy sound could be seen by those close enough to where the fawn was being brought to land.

    Gagne settled the fawn down on the rocks for just a moment and talked to it, trying to calm it down. Meanwhile, Sukeforth readied a crate, and as soon as he opened the door, the wriggling and frightened fawn was unceremoniously pushed inside and the door secured behind it.

    The crate was then moved from the rocks to the headwall, and then Gagne and Weaver carried it to the back of the police department's pickup truck.

    A couple of phone calls later, and the fawn was getting a ride to Vassalboro, where Don and Carleen Cote of the Wildlife Care Center on Route 3 would do their best to mend the break and care for the fawn.

    "It looks healthy, not too stressed, just a bit winded, and the break appears to be low in the joint, not the hip. Yep, we'll see you in a couple of hours," said Gagne on the phone to Don Cote.

    The Cotes have been rehabilitating all manner of injured and abandoned animals in need of TLC for more than 40 years. During a personal visit in April 2009 to deliver five squirrels needing a safe haven to grow strong enough to live on their own in the wild, the Cote home nursery and yard included a baby porcupine, three raccoons, a handful of red fox, a couple of skunks, owls, geese, ducks and a yard with a half-dozen deer. That spring they had released eight skunks removed from under a garage over the winter.

    Some of the critters were in the process of being rehabilitated for return to the wild, while others were permanent residents, unable to make it on their own due to any number of various circumstances.

    The Camden fawn will be in good company at the Cotes, and though its most recent brush with humans was a bit traumatic and scary, it will find many of its kind to bond with at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center during its R&R time.

    Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards can be reached at hollyedwards@penbaypilot.com or 706-6655.