The investigating police officer didn’t hesitate in his duty. He may have been more used to apprehending criminals than diving into drains, but nevertheless he lifted up the grate and put his hand deep inside. He could see a moving shape down there, but what actually was lurking in the gloom?
Well, let’s back up a bit first. You see, this boy pictured here is Jaden Bashaw from Toledo, Ohio. He’s an animal-loving guy with a passion for wrestling, and June 22, 2016 started out as a regular day for the teenager. That is, until he noticed something highly unusual in a local storm drain.
It all started when Bashaw was walking home through Sylvania Township and heard a strange noise. He also noticed some movement at the side of the road. Probably the oddest thing about all of this, though, was that the noise seemed to be coming from underneath him.
In fact, the disturbance was emanating from a storm drain at his feet. And, considering the urban legends about carnivorous reptiles found in the sewers, the teenager did the wisest thing he could: he contacted the Sylvania Township Police Department.
Mind you, when officers got Bashaw’s call, they could have been forgiven for thinking it sounded like a prank. Nonetheless, a patrol car was sent to investigate. The answering officer was Dave Shinaver, a local lawman who apparently isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty now and then.
Indeed, Officer Shinaver wasn’t fazed by the thought of delving into the storm drain. They’re not really designed, however, for easy access. Hence, the officer had to remove the cover grating to climb inside, and even then the gap was too small to gain full access.
Luckily, the drain was just about wide enough for the job in hand, and the lawman managed to get partially inside. No one could believe the unusual discovery that Bashaw had made, though.
That’s because the creature in the storm drain was a deer fawn, and it seemed that the curious critter might have fallen in while exploring. Later, Bashaw would confirm on his Facebook page, “Today I was walking home [when] I found a baby deer in a sewer drain and saved his life, what a day!”
Bashaw didn’t know how the frightened animal had managed to get into the hole, but it certainly couldn’t find its way back out again. The noise Bashaw had heard was, then, likely the baby crying out for its mommy. But while momma couldn’t help, Officer Shinaver was a more than capable substitute.
After all, the police department is pledged to serve the public – even those members who are a little furrier than others. All joking aside, though, Officer Shinaver performed his duties ably that day.
It’s not known how long the fawn had been stuck in the drain, but officers did spot its mom waiting anxiously close by. In fact, they posted a picture of the nervous doe on Twitter, captioned, “Mama Deer was waiting nearby to receive her baby back.”
Afterward, the Sylvania Township Police Department was rightfully proud of Officer Shinaver’s rescue, and it uploaded the dash-cam video of the event to its Twitter account. “Jaden Bashaw & Officer Dave Shinaver helped rescue a baby deer from the storm drain on Sylvania Ave,” it posted, matter-of-factly.
The department’s Twitter account also linked back to a feature on a local news website. Yes, the story had reached local network 13abc, and it was destined to turn heads nationwide, too.
That’s perfectly understandable, though, given that if Officer Shinaver hadn’t jumped into action, the fawn would likely have met a nasty fate in that storm drain. Indeed, there were all manner of ways in which the deer’s life could’ve ended, including starvation and drowning.
Eventually, however, Shinaver managed to get a good grip on the struggling deer and lift it out of the sewer. A quick inspection revealed that the baby seemed scared, but there were no obvious injuries. Consequently, the animal was given a clean bill of health.
With everyone happy that the fawn was fit and healthy, then, it was released back into the wild. And, of course, the first thing it did was dash toward the nearby woods to reunite with its mommy.
However, it should be noted that it’s usually advised not to touch fawns. After all, while many people assume that they’ve been abandoned if there’s no mommy in sight, this is not always the case. In fact, a fawn will usually sleep away from its mom and will often be left alone when she goes to forage for food. Additionally, a fawn is only nursed a few times a day.
Moreover, it’s especially important not to touch newborn fawns, since in the first few days following the baby’s birth the doe will form a strong bond with her child. This is called “imprinting,” and if this process is interrupted it may lead to a mommy deer rejecting her baby.
“Our advice should always be, ‘Don’t touch that baby!’” a spokesperson for Pennsylvania State College of Agricultural Sciences said. “While I’m sure there may be some evidence for rejection by the doe if a human handles her young, it is minimal. Given her investment, once the bond between mother and young is formed, it is unlikely to be broken even by a stinky human.”
So if you ever encounter a fawn that’s clearly trapped or injured, the sensible option would seem to be to follow Bashaw’s example and call the local authorities. Indeed, if it weren’t for the intervention of these two rescuers, the poor little fawn would surely have died.