BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It was a race against time Thursday afternoon to save a helpless animal from the icy waters of the Buffalo River.
The deer was on the ice for at least four hours, struggling to stay on an ice sheet and occasionally sliding off into the frigid Buffalo River. Despite dramatic efforts by city employees to save the deer, after being rescued from the river, the deer had to be euthanized.
A trucker first spotted it around 11 a.m. from the Ohio Street lift bridge and called 911. A female deer was stuck on plates of ice on the Buffalo River behind ADM at Ohio and Sinclair Streets. It slipped into the water a few times, and would pull itself out.
To calm it down and keep it stable, a city wildlife officer shot it with a tranquilizer gun. Then, the city's Harbor Master, Don Poleto, managed to lasso the deer and pulled the deer out of the water. Poleto said he's never done anything like this before.
"I got guess as the Harbor Master it kind of fell under my responsibility. The job's something different every day. It was a good feeling. Talking to our guys, I didn't want to leave her here. It's a little painful, especially when she would go in the water and splash around and we're kind of hoping it pull itself up. But you could tell right near the end she was tired and wet and cold," said Poleto.
It is not unusual for deer to come up to the Buffalo River in the First Ward. Unfortunately, after the heroic efforts, the deer did have to be euthanized.
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