Deer Rescued from Ice-Covered Clinton River Saturday in Clinton Township
The doe fell through the ice in the North Branch of the Clinton River near Dunham and Heydenreich.
Through the combined efforts of Macomb County Animal Control officers and Clinton Township firefighters, a doe was rescued Saturday from the icy waters of the North Branch of the Clinton River.
It was around 3 p.m. Saturday that residents in the 43300 block of Riverbend Blvd., off Dunham Road, began phoning in reports of a deer trapped in the ice.
Once the reports were confirmed, Macomb County Animal Control Manager Jeff Randazzo notified the Clinton Township Fire Department to organize a rescue.
“What happened was the deer made it toward the middle of the river and fell through the ice,” Randazzo said. “It was probably in the water for a good hour or more.”
It took firefighters three tries to get the doe to safety.
During the first rescue attempt, a Clinton Township firefighter outfitted in a dry suit crawled out onto the ice on his stomach, using a ladder to try to coax the deer to an opening in the ice. When that didn’t work, fire crews began using sledgehammers to break through the ice to create a second opening to drive the deer toward shore.
Finally, firefighters were able to put a harness around the deer and pull it up the embankment where Randazzo advised emergency crews and area residents to leave the exhausted creature alone.
“I told residents to keep an eye on it and to call if they noticed it was still here, but deer are resilient to a lot of things and the best thing to do is to just get it to a safe area and let it be,” Randazzo said.
As the newly appointed director of the Macomb County Animal Shelter, Randazzo said the rescue was “a really positive thing for the Macomb County Animal Control and Clinton Township Fire Department” that speaks to his department’s efforts in animal welfare.
However, Randazzo reminds residents that this rescue was a success largely because trained professionals conducted it. He advises residents to always call 911 first and not attempt a solo ice rescue of any animal, be it a personal pet or local wildlife.
“You may think the ice is solid, but it is not,” Randazzo added. “The Clinton River has a very strong current and it’s not going to be good for anyone to go out on the water. That a deer fell through the ice just shows how dangerous it is. The best thing is to just stay off it.”