Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Deer survives plastic pumpkin ordeal

After six days of wearing a plastic pumpkin on its muzzle, this button buck was freed by wildlife authorities. 	Photo submitted by Linda Hansen Mentor, Ohio — Residents and passers-by in northeast Ohio couldn’t believe what they saw recently when a button buck showed up in back yards with its head stuck in a Halloween pail.

On Nov. 10, after six days of periodic sightings, an animal rehabilitator was able to tackle the deer to dislodge the pail.

Linda Hansen of the Kittery Cove subdivision and her daughter, Alexa, first spotted the deer's predicament Nov. 5 and tried to coax it near enough to attempt to dislodge the pail snagged on the deer nubs, she said.

After several more sightings and failed attempts to rescue the deer, Hansen contacted the local police and the Ohio Division of Wildlife for additional help.

Lake County Wildlife Officer Mariano Pellegrini, along with DOW officers and supervisors from Geauga, Cuyahoga, Portage, and Mahoning counties along with animal rehabilitators from Birds in Flight Sanctuary in Trumbull County, worked several hours Nov. 10 to attempt to steer the deer toward netting in efforts to capture the deer and remove the pail.

Officers were earlier unsuccessful in trying to flip the pail off the deer’s head with a long pole, Pellegrini said.

Cameron Merritt of Birds in Flight was able to tackle the deer as it reversed course from the net barricade, and the pail became dislodged. 

“We were all happy it ended the way it did,” Merritt said.

“He was in the right spot at the right time to get it done in the right way,” said his mother, Heather Merritt, who operates the wildlife sanctuary in Warren, Ohio.

The wildlife sanctuary, which is funded by donations, provides emergency rescue for birds and animals in 16 Ohio counties.

As for Hansen's neighborhood, they were relieved and happy, the deer’s ordeal was over, Hansen said in an e-mail. 

“I never realized how naturally humane people are, … but no one wanted to see the deer suffer by not being able to eat or drink,” she said.

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