ST. ALBANS — Hours after people saw firefighters rescue a small deer from thin ice on Weymouth Pond, the animal was killed by a game warden who saw it suffering and believed it was unlikely to survive.

The deer was rescued Wednesday night, but “when I checked on it this morning it was laying on the shore,” Maine Game Warden Josh Tibbetts said Thursday. “They had put some corn down to try and feed it, but it wasn’t eating it. It didn’t even raise its head.”

The deer had road rash from where it had been hit by a car recently, Tibbetts said.

“It obviously had something wrong with it, some type of head injury or something,” he said. “It wasn’t afraid of people and that’s probably why it ended up where it was.”

On Wednesday, motorists and firefighters helped rescue the deer, which was stranded on thin ice in the middle of the pond.

“I just noticed as I was driving by and I turned around,” said Amy Philbrick, 39, of St. Albans. “She was sinking into the ice and she actually fell in three or four times while I was there.”

Philbrick said she stopped by the pond around 5:45 p.m. along with a small group of other people who had been driving by.

“It was hard to watch. It was very hard because she would fall in and you could see she was struggling,” Philbrick said. “She would paddle, paddle, paddle to try and get up over the ice and she’d get up but then she couldn’t move.”

Philbrick called Jason Emery, the St. Albans fire chief. Emery and another firefighter, Chuck Crump, swam to the ice in the middle of the pond in cold water suits. They crawled on their stomachs to get to the deer, put a rope around her and had a crew on shore pull her to safety, Emery said.

“By the time the firefighters got there, there were probably 10 or 12 cars,” Philbrick said. “They did a great job. It was something that gave you goose bumps to watch.”

The firefighters dried off the deer and a bystander went to his house and brought corn for the deer to eat, Philbrick said.

On her way to work Thursday morning, she noticed the deer was gone and texted her family: “She made it!” Hours later, she learned it was dead.

“It’s heartbreaking. I hope she didn’t suffer,” Philbrick said. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh it’s just a deer,’ but you can’t watch an animal suffer. She just looked so helpless. It was heartbreaking.”


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