By Bob Uphues
A little more than a week after a Riverside police officer came face to face with an alligator snapping turtle, several officers were called to the 200 block of Scottswood Road early Friday morning after neighbors called to report what sounded like something crying out in pain in a backyard.
When police arrived on the scene at about 12:20 a.m., they found a young deer whose leg was impaled atop a wrought iron fence. The deer apparently attempted to leap over the fence, but got snagged.
After determining that the deer might not be seriously injured, two Riverside police officers and two Lyons police officers worked for about 15 minutes to free the deer from the fence. Once freed, the deer bounded away and officers lost sight of the animal.
Just before 7 a.m., however, police received a call from another resident of the 200 block of Scottswood Road, about five houses away, reporting a dead deer in the front yard of the property. From injuries observed on the deer, it was apparent that it was the same animal that had been caught on the fence.
Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said he received two phone calls from residents upset that the officers didn't shoot the deer when they found it injured. However, he defended his officers' actions, saying the officers believed the animal wasn't severely injured and that he didn't police shooting their weapons in the backyard of a home in the early morning hours.
"The sergeant on scene did not want to discharge a firearm in a residential area where home were grouped close together adjoined by backyards," said Weitzel. "It was a wise decision to not attempt to in any way dispatch the deer at its current location it was initially."