Deer Occupies Enclosed Vacant Lot On Halsted Street

Updated 06/19/12 – 6:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A deer has been holding court in a vacant lot in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for the past two days now.

The buck has been hanging out since Sunday in an enclosed vacant lot on the east side of Halsted Street, between Armitage Avenue and Wisconsin Street, where the Philip D. Armour Child and Family Care Center stood until 2005.

People who live nearby have been feeding the deer apples, and stopping to take photos. They say they are worried for the animal’s safety.

“He had to jump the fence. What if jumps and ends up in the street or something?” said Karyn Calabrese, owner of Karyn’s Fresh Corner, 1901 N. Halsted St. “It’s scary. I feel so horrible for him; I’ve been calling him Bambi all day. At least the sun is coming down now; it was so incredibly hot. He was panting earlier.”

Tuesday afternoon, police shut down the Ontario-Ohio feeder ramp to the Kennedy Expressway, because a similar-looking deer was out in traffic. Animal Control officers used tranquilizer guns to put it to sleep and safely move the animal to Barrington, to place it with the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation center.

It was not immediately clear if that was the same deer that had been staying in the lot on Halsted.

A neighbor said a warning sign with a police officer’s name on it ordered people not to provide water or food to the deer in the lot on Halsted.

Some neighbors also contacted Animal Care and Control and were told the deer has lived in the city for at least a year and a half. Animal Care and Control agents tell neighbors there is nothing they can do.

Deer are not uncommon within the city limits, and there was a similar incidence of a deer occupying a densely-populated city neighborhood last year.

About this time last year, a doe and her two fawns were spotted in more than one residential courtyard in East Lakeview – first in the 600 block of West Barry Avenue, then with her two fawns near Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue.

The city likewise advised people not to feed the deer last year, as it tends to make the animals too used to humans ever to survive in the wild. But people still gave the fawns bottled milk and organic apples from Whole Foods.

As the days counted down to the Gay Pride Parade coming through the area, officials at Animal Care and Control decided to relocate the deer family so they won’t be spooked by the crowds.

Just days later, another deer was found injured and bleeding in a yard near Diversey, Western and Elston avenues.

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