Deer falls into house basement

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Frank Schultz
Monday, November 18, 2013

TOWN OF JANESVILLE—The shock of a wildlife intruder in her house Saturday morning was eased by the actions of a sheriff's deputy, Sandra Van Able said.

The town of Janesville woman initially suspected a human intruder. She called 911.

Several deputies, who had just reported for their shift at the sheriff's office about a mile away, responded quickly.

Van Able said they entered the house with guns drawn.

Van Able, meanwhile, had been told by the 911 dispatcher to stay outside. She did, but she feared for the safety of her husband, who was asleep inside the house.

Deputies soon found the problem: a whitetail doe in the basement.

Deputies determined the doe had broken her hips in the fall. While waiting for someone to come with a tranquilizer gun, Deputy Mike Stalker sat at the bottom of the basement steps and talked soothingly to the animal, Van Able said.

“He was just reassuring, and it was just very nice, very compassionate,” she said.

“We were upstairs. He told us she laid her head down. She was resting. She was quiet, not trying to move, resting her head on a box,” Van Able continued. “He was making her at home, easing her fears, and that was just very special.”

The retired woman was at her computer in her house on County F at about 7 a.m. when she heard an odd noise. She looked outside, saw nothing, and went back to her computer.

Then she heard and felt a thud.

A basement window is just below the computer room, and she thought someone had broken in.

Later, signs showed the deer had walked between the house and an evergreen bush—a gap of about 9 inches—and stepped through the window-well cover, fell through the window and into the basement.

Disturbed rocks and dirt in the window well told of the deer's struggle to pull itself up, Van Able said.

Deputies told Van Able that the doe was 2 or 3 years old and weighed about 180 pounds. Deputies did not think the deer, with two broken hips, could recover.

After the doe was shot with a tranquilizer dart, she was taken out to the road and dispatched, Van Able said.

The incident was the second in which a deer fell into a local basement last week.

A buck fell into the basement of Bethel Baptist Church on Janesville's east side on Nov. 10. Like Saturday's doe, it was first tranquilized and then put down.

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