It began as a routine call to check on an injured deer, but what one Putnam County police officer witnessed on the beat this week left him looking like a deer in headlights.
Late Thursday night, Cloverdale Town Marshal Don Pearson was dispatched for a report of an injured deer near a residence on, none other than, Doe Creek Road. The animal, according to the homeowner who called in the report, appeared to have sustained some type of injury to one of its back legs.
Pearson arrived at the home a short time later to find the homeowner standing in his front yard and the deer on the ground nearby. As Pearson stepped out of his patrol car and began walking toward the man, he was surprised to see the deer also begin making his way forward.
"I thought it was gonna walk right up to me and want me to pet it," Pearson said.
Pearson and the man stood by and observed the deer for a while and determined that, yes, it did seem to have sustained an injury to its leg but otherwise seemed quite healthy.
"It just looked like a normal, healthy doe, except for the leg was injured," Pearson said.
But closer examination revealed something that shocked the long-time officer.
As he looked down the body of the deer, Pearson noticed what could best be described as a pink dog collar, about 1 inch wide, securely fastened around the animal's neck. The doe showed no fear and didn't try to run off when approached.
Pearson radioed back to the dispatch center and was put in contact with a DNR officer who told him that it isn't unusual for people to have deer as pets, but it came as a surprise to Pearson.
After observing the animal for a while, Pearson watched as it eventually sauntered off into the nearby woods and disappeared from sight.
Pearson said he drove back to the area the next day, but the deer was nowhere to be found. It was an experience he enjoys talking about and won't forget soon.
"It was one of those things that in all my years in law enforcement, I've never experienced," he said with a laugh. "It's something you don't see every day."