Foothills Park is open to Palo Alto residents only, but one four-legged local managed to gain access following a run-in with the law. Now she lives there.
The Columbian black-tailed deer’s transition from the hoi polloi to the hoity-toity commenced the afternoon of Sept. 10. She attracted the attention of Palo Alto Animal Control, the contract provider for Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, by wandering onto Oak Street near downtown Los Altos. Animal Control Officer William Warrior responded to the scene and noted minor cuts and tears around the animal’s face as if she had tangoed with barbed wire. She also seemed somewhat visually impaired.
“What confused me was you just didn’t see any trauma anywhere else on the rest of the body which, if it had been hit by a car, there would have been all kinds of abrasions and contusions,” he said.
Warrior left the scene after confirming the deer appeared otherwise healthy and removed from traffic.
“We had given the deer 24 hours to try to sort things out on her own,” he said.
But by the following morning, she had moseyed over to West Edith Avenue, straying close enough to one home’s front door to ring the doorbell should she choose. Someone reported her presence to the Los Altos Police Department, which summoned Cody Macartney, lead animal control officer with Animal Control.
“She stayed in this yard, kind of wandering the fence line and eating the bushes,” Macartney said.
The deer’s proximity to busy Foothill Expressway and San Antonio Road had become a concern, so Macartney radioed Warrior to help him catch her. They used a large net Animal Control purchased recently for the apprehension of wayward dogs and then hog-tied her and obscured her head with a blanket, a trick for calming deer. The men decided to relocate her to Foothills Park on Page Mill Road, where she might be able to assimilate into existing deer herds.
Following the release, Warrior observed the deer for about an hour to ensure she was OK. He checked in on her again Thursday.
“She was walking well, eating well and pooping well,” Macartney reported. “Those are the three things you’re looking for.”