Residents seek help for entangled deer spotted in Oakland Hills since last month

Concerned residents in the Oakland Hills have been reaching out to wildlife experts about a deer tangled up in some type of rope and spotted multiple times since at least last month.

On Thursday night, the deer was seen on Ruthland Road off Mountain Boulevard.

His antlers were heavily tangled with a white cord, which was dragging on the ground. He did not run off at first and then eventually made his way into a wooded area. Within a minute, he appeared back on the road before following another deer back into the brush.

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On Sept. 19, a resident in the city’s Forest Pool area posted about the animal on the neighborhood social media site NextDoor. Marianne Lam shared a photo of the deer and asked for advice on how to get him help. "This poor stag is wrapped up in synthetic rope. I tried calling animal control but unfortunately it goes through OPD dispatch and the line is endlessly busy," Lam said in her post.

KTVU reached out to Oakland Animals Services but did not hear back. We also contacted the animal care non-profit "WildCare," in San Rafael, which said it was aware of the deer, as somebody else had alerted the group of that same stag.

Officials said that it appeared the animal has been able to get rid of most of the cord in which it was entangled.

"This is really good news, because adult deer are really challenging to deal with," said WildCare Communications Director Alison Hermance. "They're so large and unpredictable that the state Fish & Wildlife Department won't allow us to rehab them unless they're fawns with spots," she explained.

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Hermance also said that since the deer was moving on his own and appeared otherwise healthy, it would be extremely challenging and dangerous to intervene and try and help him.

"Deer are also incredibly high stress, and their hearts can actually be damaged by the extreme stress and anxiety of the type of interaction with humans that untangling would require," Hermance explained.

She said residents should not attempt to approach the animal.

"Even if he looks trapped or extremely down, he's still REALLY strong and actually quite dangerous," the wildlife expert said. "Deer aren't aggressive per se, but they'll respond if they feel trapped or cornered, and they're big enough to really hurt a human," she stressed.

Hermance encouraged residents to keep an eye out for the animal, from a distance, and said there were positive signs that he would be okay, especially since he was moving around, which meant that he’s been able to eat and drink. 

"If he ends up tangled and trapped, then call in Oakland Animal Control," she advised, but noted, "Most of them seem to be able to ultimately get out of stuff like this, and really, that is probably the best answer for the deer in the long run."