Firefighters rescue deer from Sacramento canal

Two young deer are pulled from a concrete canal in Sacramento

Firefighters in Sacramento pulled two deer from a rain-swollen canal on Monday.

The process of rescuing an animal "is always risky," said Michelle Eidam, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. "You're trying to protect the animal. At the same time, you're trying to protect the rescuers."

Deer sometimes jump the fence that borders the waterway and, once in, easily end up in the water, she said. At the time of Monday's rescue in the canal near Hazel Avenue and Tributary Point Drive, the rain was heavy, and the steep-sided concrete canal was slick.

Workers with Sacramento Fish & Wildlife had spotted the deer in the canal and notified Metro Fire.

"There's no way they could have gotten out of that water," Eidam said.

Although deer make their way into the canal about twice a year, Eidam said, this incident was unique in that it was two young deer together, a male and a female.

Firefighters in two inflatable boats paddled, motors quiet, trying to get close to the deer without causing them to panic. But the pair swam away, and rescuers flipped on their motors to draw alongside one and then the other deer and pull the sodden animals from the canal.

Fish & Wildlife workers helped in the effort, rescuers were not kicked by the deer, the deer weren't injured, and they were released in the state park adjacent to the canal.

"It could not have gone better," Eidam said.

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