Police, DNR chase fawns after wreck near hospital

ALPENA–Michigan State Police cruisers slowed traffic in front of MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena late Friday morning as troopers and Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers reacted to a car-deer collision on Chisholm Street in Alpena.

According to police, a doe followed had struck a vehicle and was killed. One of two fawns that had been following the doe fled toward the hospital and disappeared.

The other, which darted toward the water fronting Island Park across from the hospital, was pursued by an MSP trooper who was nearby when the doe was hit. The officer was joined by several other troopers and a DNR officer, who attempted to keep the fawn away from the heavily trafficked road.

After floundering in the long grasses at the water’s edge, the fawn eventually ran across the road, making drivers brake abruptly. After a chase, the animal was cornered near the entrance to the hospital and removed by officers.

DNR Conservation Officer John Shepherd explained that catching the deer was a safety issue for both the animal and humans, especially in a busy part of the city.

“We don’t want it to run out on the road and cause another accident,” Shepherd said. “We don’t want someone else to get hurt.”

Fawns whose mothers have been killed usually have to be euthanized, according to Lt. James Gorno of the DNR Gaylord Service Center. Unable to survive on their own, fawns left in the wild die of malnutrition or predators, making euthanization a compassionate option.

Adoption of the fawns is also not a viable option, nor legal, as deer can carry diseases that can be communicated to humans or livestock. Fawns accustomed to human interaction lose their abilities to protect themselves and often fall prey to dogs, coyotes, or vehicles.

The DNR euthanize for the sake of both animals and people, Gorno said.

“We are paid by the people of Michigan to protect those animals,” Gorno said, “so that’s what we do.”

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.