Deer crashes into Janesville church's basement

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

JANESVILLE—Rutting bucks crash through a window or two at this time each year in Wisconsin, but the deer that ended up in the basement of a Janesville church Sunday is one for the books.

The six-pointer apparently ran into the side of the building, stumbled and then leaned on a window that was close to the ground, said Andrew Moffitt, youth pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, 3300 Mount Zion Ave. on the city's east side.

The window gave way, and the deer fell into the basement, Moffitt said. He knows because he talked to a truck driver who braked as the deer crossed the street and saw what happened.

The window was about 2 feet high and 4 feet wide.

“We were surprised how he fit in there,” Moffitt said.

The deer fell into the church's library. A father and his two daughters were checking out books at the time but quickly left and closed the door, Moffitt said.

The deer was spurting blood as it crashed into bookshelves, trying to climb into the ceiling tiles to escape, said Moffitt, who was among those in the upstairs offices who went to see what was going on.

“It really does look like a murder scene down there. It really was hurt pretty bad,” Moffitt said.

Police were soon on the scene, and a veterinarian and someone with a tranquilizer-dart rifle were called.

The marksman darted the deer, shooting through the window, Moffitt said. That allowed veterinarian Julie Johnson to administer a dose that put it down for good.

It appeared the deer was too severely wounded to save, Moffitt said.

The entire ordeal took nearly two hours.

No one seems to know how the deer got to the church, but a city greenbelt is nearby, Moffitt said.

Moffitt said most of the books in the library are contaminated with blood and will have to be replaced. Police called the damage to the room “extensive.”

All the other windows along that side of the building were classrooms, which still contained children as Sunday school was ending around 10:30 a.m., Moffitt said.

“Parents were picking up kids from Sunday school, teachers were in the classrooms. It could have been a lot worse, so we just praise God that it wasn't,” Moffitt said.

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