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Four Palm Coast Employees Pull Off Poetic Doe Rescue Trapped in Grand Haven Pond

| December 19, 2014

The doe before the rescue. (Palm Coast)

The doe before the rescue. (Palm Coast)

In Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon’s words (happy-face emoticon not included), “Santa will have all his reindeer this year,” thanks to four city employees who saved a doe from drowning in a coldish pond at Grand Haven Wednesday morning.


According to an account of the incident by Palm Coast’s Cindi Lane, residents at Grand Haven spotted the doe swimming in the pond. “The doe was just able to balance herself on the culvert pipe to rest, but she kept sliding off and would have to swim again.” Lane wrote. The doe had no way out because a cement wall all the way around the pond prevented her from getting a footing somewhere to spring out.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was sending an officer from Jacksonville, but the agency was concerned that the rescuer wouldn’t arrive in time because the doe was obviously fatigued.

Palm Coast Animal Control got the call around 8 a.m. Eva Boivin and Heather Priestap of animal control were joined by Mark Ballard and Mike Hadden, two city code inspectors. The team was able to get a thick leash around the base of the doe’s neck. She tried to swim away, but they were able to pull her back to the side of the pond. Ballard and Hadden were then able to lift her out.

The doe, whose name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, was very tired and shaking, so the Palm Coast employees covered her in towels and dried her off. “She was very wobbly and falling when she walked, but she finally got onto a resident’s front porch,” Lane wrote. “When FWC arrived, they picked her up and carried her into the woods. They checked on her a couple of times, and she was alert and doing alright.”

The rescue inspired Sara Lockhart, the senior planner who retired from Palm Coast government and a Grand Haven resident who witnessed the rescue and intervened to help, to write a poem. It appears in full below.

Twas eight days before Christmas, when what should appear, a deer drowning in the bulkhead lake with no way out, that was clear.

Sara Lockhart

Sara Lockhart

When I spotted the poor beast, I made such a clatter, my husband yelled, “What’s the matter?” Away from the window, I flew like a flash, and to the cell phones we made a mad dash.

First the Flagler Sheriff’s Office said no, then the CDD, perhaps Florida Fish and Wildlife, but at sixty minutes out, who else could there be? Animal Control, that’s who may help, so quickly, quickly, we gave them a yelp.

On to the far bulkhead my husband went, to strategize with congregating  neighbors about the unfolding event.

And suddenly, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but four City employees, carrying rescue gear!  What’s the situation?” they wanted to know, and so I showed them which way to go.

With skill and care, they crept down the back yard. The deer shifted again. A rescue may be hard.

But wait, what was that? A sling in place, a tug on the line, then out over the bulkhead in the nick of time!

In the blink of an eye, it happened that quick, but I knew at that moment they had this thing licked!

–Sara Lockhart

the-doe-2

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9 Responses for “Four Palm Coast Employees Pull Off Poetic Doe Rescue Trapped in Grand Haven Pond”

  1. confidential says:

    Big Thanks to all involved on this lovely recue! Hooray for the city employees that volunteered and our Animal Recue Officer…she is always eager and awesome to help, wild life and domestic animals.

  2. confidential says:

    Maybe Grand Haven should install some area with steps up or embankment for fallen wildlife like this deer or squirrels or turtles fallen in this deathtrap, to be able to walk themselves out..?.

  3. Well... says:

    That picture is the cutest Palm Coaster I’ve ever seen. Kudos to those that saved her life.

  4. tulip says:

    What a happy ending and I loved Ms Lockhart’s poem!

  5. Jan Reeger says:

    Awww Great story! Merry Christmas!

  6. david says:

    Retention or decorative ponds with straight sides are a death trap for any animal that falls in. They are a hazard for children and adults as well. Some regularly spaced ramps, steps or other means of egress should be required by law.

  7. GY says:

    Thanks to all who helped save a life. Be careful out there Santa.

  8. MarieS says:

    Thrilled they saved the doe but the same officers have no problem
    Catching then putting down feral cats when someone complains their neighbor is feeding them.
    Double standard/?

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