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Summit County

After A Daring Rescue, Fawn Subcumbs To Icy Water

A daring rescue on thin ice by a Summit County Sheriff’s Deputy wasn’t enough to save a fawn that had fallen into the frozen pond, but it’s a nice reminder that there are kind people willing to help.

Kristy James’ family has enjoyed watching the mother deer and her two fawns that were born this spring, all summer from their home in the Tollgate neighborhood.

On Wednesday though, James noticed that one of the fawns was trapped on thin ice in the family’s backyard. The pond is located at the bottom of a steep hillside. She says it looks like the fawn may have slipped down the hill and landed on the ice.

“It looked like her back legs couldn’t get under her, “ James said. “At first,  I thought her tail was stuck in the ice. I threw my boots on and went out and I looked, and she, I don’t know how long she had been there, but she had been lying there so long, it had melted the ice completely under her body. So ,her entire stomach and back thighs, or hind quarters ,or whatever you call it, was in the ice, in the water, so she just couldn’t get traction.”

James didn’t have the number for the Division of Wildlife Resources, so she called the Summit County Sheriff’s office. Deputy Andy Arnn was the responding officer and a neighbor helped as well...

They took the propellors off the family’s paddle boat and the deputy was able to push himself across the ice to where the fawn was located. The neighbor watched from the hillside and was ready with a long pole in the event the ice broke.

“And at that time the neighborhood had also come in and had a big, long pole and kind of guiding the officer so that you know, in case he fell, or...she explained.” “He was kind of the hillside spotter. The officer was able to get a tow strap around the fawn and bring it up and drag it out of the water. His whole entire belly was in there and he was just shivering so we wrapped it in blankets and put it next to the hot tub to get it warm. So, it was a very stressful, traumatic morning.”

When DWR arrived later,  the fawn – which was no larger than a Labrador,  had died due to hypothermia despite their best efforts.

“We had a big pile of blankets on her, we were rubbing her legs, trying to keep her warm,” James said.  “And I guess she had just recently passed and that’s when DWR was like, you know it's just probably due to hypothermia 'cause she so small.”

Because of recent knee surgery James couldn’t climb down the hill herself and had to wait for help.

You can see some of James’ photos from the rescue on our website, kpcw.org