Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Toledo officer does C-section in bid to save fawn

A lot is required of a police officer - protecting residents in the community, investigating crimes, and arresting those who break the law.

To that list, two Toledo police officers felt called to add delivering a fawn by C-section and giving it nose-to-mouth resuscitation.

Early yesterday, the officers responded to Hill Avenue and Melody Lane in the south end on a report of an injured deer in the street blocking traffic.

Sgt. Todd Miller and Officer Joe Taylor arrived at the scene about 3:10 a.m. and found a severely injured doe lying in the middle of the street. The sergeant said it appeared the doe had been hit by a car.

One of its back legs was broken and it had head injuries. The doe wasn't able to stand and could barely hold up its head, Sergeant Miller said.

The sergeant, an avid hunter, said it was unlikely the deer would survive, so he instructed Officer Taylor to shoot it.

Upon doing so, there was a movement inside the doe's womb.

"You could see the baby kicking inside it," Sergeant Miller said.

Looking at the doe, Sergeant Miller said it appeared as though it was close to full term, increasing the fawn's chance of survival.

"The least we could do was try," he said. "It seemed like the right thing to do."

Using his hunting skills, the sergeant cut open the doe's abdomen and removed the male fawn, which had trouble breathing after the delivery.

Officer Taylor, also a hunter, put his mouth over the fawn's nasal and mouth passages and began breathing into them.

Shortly after, the fawn began breathing on its own, Sergeant Miller said.

"The deer eventually started to sit up and clean off its fur," he said.

Toledo police Capt. Ron Navarro said the officers "went above and beyond the call of duty.".

Appropriately, Officer Taylor named the fawn Lucky.

He then took it to Nature's Nursery in Waterville, where it initially was given little more than a 50 percent chance of survival.

Despite the officers' efforts, however, the fawn didn't make it.

Laura Zitzelberger, operations director at the wildlife rehabilitation center, said it died just before 8 a.m. yesterday.

She put the animal in a room heated to more than 90 degrees and wrapped it in a heated blanket, but the fawn's body temperature did not rise to normal levels.

Ms. Zitzelberger said the fawn was well developed and about the size of a normal newborn.

"There was no outward reason that I could see why we couldn't get its body temperature back up," she said.

Still, Ms. Zitzelberger commended the officers for their efforts. "I think it's great they went the extra mile to try to do this," she said. "I would have loved - just because of all [the] efforts - to have been able to save this fawn."

Contact Laren Weber at: or 419-724-6050.

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