CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Chicago wants to move three residents of the Boystown neighborhood to another part of town — because other residents may be killing them with kindness.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, the residents in question are three deer – two fawns and their mother – that have been living in the courtyard of an apartment building near Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street.
The problem, the city says, is that people are feeding the deer. That tends to make the deer too used to humans ever to survive in the wild.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported people are giving the fawns milk from bottles and organic apples from Whole Foods, which could also be harmful to the young deer and make their mother angry. The office of Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) is also concerned about the possible effect on the deer when hundreds of thousands of people come to the Gay Pride Parade a week from Sunday, the newspaper reported.
But relocating animals usually means tranquilizing at least the adults.
“It’s not as easy as it sounds, because she’s nursing,” said Cherie Travis, executive director of the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control. “Typically, what you would do in a situation with a wild animal is that you would tranquilize it, but if you tranquilize it, that will prohibit her from being able to nurse the fawns because the drug will be in her milk.”
Animal Control is consulting with the Lincoln Park Zoo about using special equipment to corral the entire family, so they can be relocated to a safer area.
Deer sightings in the area go back at least to last week. On Tuesday, June 8, a doe – believed to be the same one – was found in the courtyard of a building in the 600 block of West Barry Avenue just west of Broadway.
“Somebody yelled down at me and called me, and a couple of people all at once, saying we had a deer in our courtyard. I thought they were pranking me. I was certain I was being punked,” Bruce Alan Beal, a resident of the building, said at the time. “But sure enough, I came out, and there’s a doe. She’s probably 3 or 4 years old, and she’s sitting in the back of our courtyard, kind of hunkered down against the edge of the building.”
Beal said the deer looked “scared to death,” but was safe, and that city officials told neighbors to leave the animal alone.
The deer gave birth to the two fawns sometime afterward and settled in the courtyard near Belmont and Halsted.
“I actually saw her give birth. I was taking a shower on the second floor, ” one neighbor told CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole. “Once I realized she had given birth, I brought down a bucketful of water. I thought she was thirsty.”
On Wednesday, the Chicago News Report said the mother deer had been injured and was limping.
Travis says the goal is to relocate the deer to another, quieter part of the city.