WARNING: Some the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
At least two deer have been euthanized in as many weeks after becoming caught in fences in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood, and the city said Thursday it is committed to making changes.
Perdeep Dhillon, who lives in Cameron Heights, said a fellow resident was walking in the neighbourhood on Tuesday and noticed a deer was trapped in the fence.
“As it was trying to clear the fence, it got its back leg caught through the top of the fence and was hanging there,” she explained Thursday afternoon.
Fish and Wildlife officers were called to the area to assess the animal.
“They realized it had been cut right from its groin through down to the top of its knee and the injuries were quite extensive, so they had to put the animal down.”
This is the second time in as many weeks a deer has become caught in the fence. A similar incident took place with a deer on Nov. 3, according to Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
Cameron Heights borders the river valley and it isn’t uncommon to see wildlife in the area.
Dhillon said much of the River Pointe community in the neighbourhood is lined with the same black metal fencing.
“Although it’s a nice-looking fence, the top of the fence has these very sharp arrowheads and the animals, as they come through the ravine and the river valley, are trying to clear the fence,” Dhillon explained.
“We’ve heard of now four deer and a moose that have been caught up on the fence and have impaled themselves as they try to clear the fence, and either have died of their injuries or have had to be put down because their injuries were too extensive.”
The incidents caught the attention of community members, who started a petition in hopes the developer will make changes to the fence. Dhillon said the petition garnered about 300 signatures.
“The pointy edges are the most dangerous part of it, so even if they could either chop them right down to the solid bar or add a piece of metal across the top to make it a solid blunt edge so the animals — even if they don’t clear it — at least aren’t getting impaled.”
Dhillon said the developer has responded to residents to say the issue is being looked at. When contacted by Global News on Thursday, Delta Square Developments said they’ve been advised not to comment on the situation.
The City of Edmonton said it has been in contact with the contractor working with the developer in hopes of coming up with possible solutions. Exactly what the fix will be, how long it might take and the cost are unknown.
“We were alerted to this just recently and understand that there have been a number of occurrences so it’s definitely something we want to look into quickly,” Peter Ohm, branch manager of city planning, said Thursday afternoon. “It’s obviously not something our community wants to see happen, ever.
“I think we need to sit down and see what’s possible and what’s workable in a short period of time. But I can tell you that we will be reviewing, as a matter of course, our guidelines that happen to be around fencing and the standards that apply.
“So we’ll have another opportunity, not only in this specific incident, but also on a broader scale to look at this city-wide to see where else this issue may surface and how we may address it through a broader means.”
Exactly who will pay for the fix is also not known, Ohm said.
“Our subdivisions are conditioned such that fences are erected on private property, so it is the property of the homeowner and whatever solutions we arrive at are going to incur some costs, at least, by the property owner.”
“In terms of the cost… there’s the homeowner, there’s the developer, so there’s a number of players that could be part of a solution and part of a cost-sharing.”
While it’s not know what attracted the deer to the area, Brendan Cox with Alberta Fish and Wildlife said they encourage people to be aware of things on their property that may impact wildlife.
“For example, bird feeders, frozen crab apples and sidewalk salt may tempt deer to your property, and they may hurt themselves on fences,” he said in an email to Global News.
“I can’t say that these deer were attracted by any food sources that were left out, so I just mention it as something to be aware of. In this case, the area is close to a ravine, and many different animals will use this as a travel corridor.”
With Christmas around the corner, he warned that lights can also be a problem for animals with antlers.
“Lights that are wrapped around trees sometimes get stuck in a passing deer’s antlers, so we would encourage any lights to be placed high up and out of reach.”
Dhillon just hopes something can be done, so the community and animals can continue to co-exist.
“We’ve entered their world and placed ourselves here and we want to make sure they’re safe as well and we can enjoy the community together.”
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