Police rescue wildlife from St. Louis County home

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Can you charge Bambi with breaking and entering?

St. Louis County police responded to a neighborhood north of the city Thursday after a deer crashed through a house's front window.

The owner Hattie Vaughn was out, getting her car serviced, when a deer somehow managed to break into the home.

Officers climbed through broken window and propped open the front door, hoping the exit would solve the problem.

The house's security alarm went off, alarming the confused creature as well.

Police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they thought about calling animal control for a syringe of tranquilizer, but they realized it might kill the doe.

Then, they remembered they had bullet-resistant shields, long used by tactical teams and kept in supervisors' cars.

Three officers crouched behind two shields and scanned the house. They didn't know where they would find the deer. They thought it could probably kill a man with one kick.

The officers found it banging its hooves against the wall of a bedroom, likely seeking an escape route.

Sgt. Mike Reifschneider stayed in the bedroom to chase out the animal while Lt. Mike Mowery and Officer Steve Ringhofer waited in the living room to guide it toward the front door.

After a minute of listening to thrashing and hollering, Lt. Mike Mowery called out to the officer in the bedroom, "Are we winning or losing?"

Seconds later, the deer delivered the answer, bounding past them through the open door. It ran across the street, but collided with a fence.

With one more nudge from police, the doe disappeared safely into nearby woods.

"I just couldn't believe it," said Vaughn, the owner, as she waited for an insurance adjuster to look at the damage. "I've never even seen a deer around here."

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