A frightened young deer led animal-protection officers, police and residents on a frenetic chase through an urban neighborhood today, at first escaping, but then succumbing to a second dose of tranquilizer darts behind School 62 on Urban Street.
The deer was first spotted at Goodyear Avenue and McKibben Street on the city's East Side.
SPCA officials shot the deer with a tranquilizer gun despite shouts from the neighbors not to do so.
Drugged and stumbling, the deer lay down on the grass as a total of five SPCA and city animal-control officers prepared to capture it. But as they approached with a yellow blanket and harness, the deer stood, shrugged and ran.
The crowd of about 50 neighbors cheered and applauded as SPCA officials, police, children and their parents followed the animal down Goodyear toward Genesee Street.
One resident, who declined to give his name because he said he had skipped work, carried a camcorder to record the event.
"I'm so happy I decided not to go in to work," he said. "You never see this happen here."
"People are already asking me for copies of the tape," he added.
The deer ran down Moselle Street, across Genesee to Urban Street into the back yard of School 62. There, SPCA employees shot two more tranquilizer darts into the animal. It was finally subdued and placed in a truck for transportation to Grand Island, where veterinarians will monitor it.
The unusual events began at 7:45 a.m., as Shirley Rehman prepared her daughter for school and spotted the young deer across the street from her house at Goodyear and McKibben.
"I just did a double take," said Ms. Rehman, 31. "I did not think it was a deer at first."
Children waiting at the bus stop chased the deer into a nearby grassy lot.
Ms. Rehman's mother, Jean Williams, called police about 8 a.m. and headed out to join neighbors in the curious chase.
Ms. Rehman had a difficult time getting her 6-year-old daughter, Andrea, on the school bus.
"She wanted to stay to watch the deer," Ms. Rehman said. "She kept saying 'that's my deer.' "
One deer enthusiast, Monique Peals, thought the deer must have come from Emerson Park.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it came from there," she said. "Frogs, snakes; it has a little of everything up there."
Emerson Park, near Emerson Vocational High School on Sycamore Street near Walden Avenue, is only a few blocks from where the animal was first spotted by the city dwellers.
The deer scurried back toward Goodyear, followed by a troop of curious neighbors. It settled in an open lot and stood among bushes for refuge where it was first shot by SPCA representatives.
Adults, too, wanted to keep the animal for their own.
"We need something like this on Goodyear," said Ms. Rehman. "It's the only good thing that's ever happened on this street."