Caught on camera: animal control officers rescue deer from frozen pond

Ronnie Norman blow dries the deer to warm it back up
Ronnie Norman blow dries the deer to warm it back up
Gilbee pulls the deer from the frigid waters
Gilbee pulls the deer from the frigid waters

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A deer is recovering in a Jonesboro animal clinic after being stuck in a frozen pond for hours. Jonesboro Animal Control was on the scene for an hour before being able to save the doe from the frigid waters and they caught their dramatic rescue on camera.

"It was a pond, is what we were told...and a small deer," Animal Control Officer Eric Gilbee told Region 8 News.

When they arrived on the scene around 2pm on Tuesday though, Gilbee said that wasn't the case.

"It was actually a pretty good sized deer and a lake, not a pond," he explained.

JPD Animal Control was called to the body of water behind Ridge Crest Nursing Home after reports of a deer that had fallen through the ice about fifteen feet out.

"We tried with a rope for probably about 10-15 minutes and we just knew that wasn't gonna get it," Gilbee said. He explained the icy waters froze the rope and they had to look for a different option.

"So we found a boat over by a woman's house," he said. Officers dragged the boat to the water then spent over thirty minutes breaking the ice to even get to the deer.

"We actually had to break the ice all the way from the bank all the way out there to her and that's what took so long because breaking the ice and then trying to push the boat in the right direction that the ice was breaking."

As Gilbee went out on the boat to rescue the animal, officer Brandon Dix shot cell phone video from the bank.

An hour after arriving on the scene, Gilbee said they were finally able to pull the roughly 120lb doe to safety.

"She was trying to get out but she was just, she was so cold I think she was just starting to give up," he said.

The rescue didn't stop there though, as animal control officers had to rush the doe to Jonesboro Animal Medical Center where work immediately began to get her warmed back up.

For nearly an hour, Vet Assistant Ronnie Norman blow-dried the doe as she sat in front of a relatively balmy 70-degree heater.

After watching the doe slowly respond to treatments, the officers that pulled her from the water and those at the medical center who worked to heat her back up told Region 8 News that that's why they do what they do.

"This is why I became an animal control officer so I could do stuff like this," Gilbee said.

As to why the deer was out on the ice in the first place, officers really don't know. The doe did have a through and through gunshot wound to her chest, however and officers explained that when deer are in danger, they often run towards water as they are strong swimmers.

They estimate she'd been in the water for over two hours before they could pull her out.

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