They say it takes a village to raise a child – and sometimes, to help a deer in distress.
Amelia Silva had seen the deer around her neighborhood often. The deer had been a familiar sight roaming Kerrville near Barbara Ann Street since November, sporting a trash can lid stuck, inexplicably, around her head for the past 9 months.
“Everyone just stops and stares, takes pictures,” Silva said. “We’d all tried to help her and there was no way to catch her.”
Silva thought perhaps the deer’s predicament began with eating food out of a neighborhood trash can. However it happened, she wound up with an unwanted plastic collar for the better part of a year.
Silva and others had tried calling relevant authorities repeatedly, but no one seemed able to help the deer, she said.
“She just looked so uncomfortable,” Silva added. “At first we thought, ‘She’s going to knock it off somehow,’ but she didn’t.”
Silva noted that after a few months with a trash can lid around her neck, the deer began to walk differently, with some strain, one leg splaying outwards from the stress.
Adrianne Pfiester, an animal lover who volunteers for The Big Fix Homeless Cat Project in Kerrville, first saw a plea for help about the situation months ago in a Facebook group called Hill Country Animal Advocates.
“Someone was asking if anyone knew how we could help this deer,” she said. “I do animal rescue, some fostering, and if I see an animal that’s hurt, I’m going to try to network.”
But after a few calls to local authorities yielded no results, Pfiester said the plan began to fizzle out, since strict regulations govern trapping white-tailed deer out of season.
But locals remained determined to help.
“I know animals are animals but I put myself in any living thing’s shoes,” Pfiester said. “I couldn’t imagine living my life with something around my neck constantly that was a burden. I just have compassion for animals.”
Pfiester reached out to Kerrville animal advocate Brandy McCoy, who enlisted the aid of her son, Carson McCoy, a local outfitter with a skill set for trapping exotic animals.
McCoy said he first saw the deer’s plight the first day the deer was stuck, when a friend sent him a Snapchat photo.
“I really thought (the lid) would just fall off, but months later, it hadn’t,” McCoy said.
He speculated that the deer might have first gotten trapped eating deer corn that had been stored in a neighborhood trash can.
McCoy said that while Kerrville might not have much by way of gossip, “everybody knew about the deer with the trash-can lid on her head.”
Some locals were concerned about getting involved – and, because the deer wasn’t in active distress, local authorities were also hesitant to help, he said.
“She was perfectly healthy,” he said. “She just had a weird collar … She wasn’t going to die, but she was uncomfortable, and she’s a wild animal and I wanted to help.”
In June, McCoy attempted to approach the deer, but she had recently given birth to a fawn, and he elected to wait to try again until she had finished nursing her newborn.
“I didn’t want to hurt the mom or cause her to run off and leave the baby, so we had to leave her a little longer,” McCoy said.
Finally, on July 29, McCoy successfully cornered the deer in a back yard and removed the trash can lid off her head before she scampered off – relieved to be free of her cumbersome 9-month-long burden at last.
McCoy is a long-time friend to animals, and in 2017 he successfully caught and rescued an Egyptian goose in Louise Hays Park who had been shot with an arrow.
“I always helped my mom raise animals growing up,” McCoy said. “I don’t want to see an animal suffer, and I always want to help an animal out.”
He added that if others see Kerrville animals in trouble, they should contact the game warden or Kerr County Animal Services at 257-3100, or Freeman-Fritts Animal Shelter and Clinic at 257-4144.