Dalton Gardens deer being tested for poisoning

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A mother doe and her fawn walk through a front yard in Dalton Gardens on Monday morning near the area where four does were found dead within the past two weeks.

DALTON GARDENS - Organ samples from a yearling doe have been collected for testing to determine if the animal was possibly poisoned.

The organ samples will be taken to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game wildlife health lab in Caldwell for analysis, said Laura Wolf, a regional wildlife biologist for Fish and Game in Coeur d'Alene.

"We have received reports of several dead does in Dalton Gardens over the past week," Wolf said Monday. "The wildlife health lab may be able to determine if this death was due to poison, disease, or other potential causes of death."

She expects to have results sometime next week, but possibly by the end of this week.

Lt. Stu Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said the deer being tested was shot by a deputy Sunday afternoon.

Miller said the deputy approached the deer after being called to the scene on the 6700 block of 16th Street.

"When he approached it, it struggled to stand up, and then it began to walk diagonally," Miller said. "The deer then ran into several lawn decorations and finally lay down on the southeast corner of the yard."

He said the deer was panting heavily and had "white foam around its mouth."

Rolly Jurgens, who lives in the neighborhood, said four does have shown up dead within two weeks.

"That's really unusual," said Jurgens. "There was no blood on these at all, and they were all just stretched out. There were no broken legs, no broken jaws."

Jurgens, an avid hunter, said there are now four to eight orphaned fawns, which were being weaned.

His next-door neighbor, Sue Millard, had two does die in her yard within days.

"I'm thinking that they're being poisoned," Millard said Monday. "This is not a common thing."

One of the does thrashed around as it was dying. As the animal slowly died, its legs convulsed, digging into the ground around it.

"There were no signs of them being hit by cars, or shot, or anything like that," Millard said. She said the does have been regulars in her yard, and she doesn't believe they're older.

"There could be more (dead) and people just don't want to say anything," Millard said. She spoke out about the deaths because she wants the public to be aware of what has been happening.

Jason Kugler delivered the deer shot Sunday at his mother's home to Fish and Game.

He said when the deer showed up Sunday it came to the back porch and laid down, but wouldn't run away when approached.

"It had a foamy mouth," Kugler said Monday. He is also a hunter.

He left for a while Sunday, then returned to his mother's home. By then the deer was up and walking, but couldn't maintain a straight line.

"It was obviously in some pretty severe distress," Kugler said. "It actually walked through some bushes and tried to walk through a steel windmill that's back in the backyard."

The confused animal flipped up and landed on its head. It got back up and then laid down again.

The deputy then shot the deer.

"It was a pathetic sight to see," said Kugler's mother, Margaret Gibson. "This is inhumane. This is cruel. It's uncalled-for - whatever is going on."

Kugler and Gibson are suspicious about four deer dying within 100 yards of one another.

"You don't see four deer drop dead in short order," Kugler said. "If it is something that is being intentionally done, it needs to be dealt with. If it's being unintentionally done, people need to be informed."

Gibson said she was relieved when the deputy put the deer down, saving them from watching any more suffering.

"The young man that was from the sheriff's office was an absolute peach," Gibson said.

Two bucks graze in a backyard in Dalton Gardens on Monday morning. Four does have been found dead in Dalton Gardens within the past two weeks.

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