MOLINE -- They're common in the Quad-Cities' ravines, parks and other wooded areas. Now add one more hot spot for area deer -- downtown.
A young buck, about 18 to 24 months old, jumped through a window Sunday morning into The Dispatch's downtown Moline offices.
Rob Huggins, Sherrard, was driving down 5th Avenue when he saw the buck running. He said he followed the deer in his vehicle, slowly and at a distance, surprised to see it downtown.
"All of a sudden it just turned and jumped through the window," said Mr. Huggins. "I got out of my car and called 911."
The buck somehow managed to leap nearly 5 feet to reach a narrow window facing 5th Avenue, and then was stuck inside The Dispatch for more than three hours.
There were no employees in that section of the building at the time.
"We got the call around 10:32 a.m.," said Sgt. Greg Crouch of the Moline Police Department.
The buck, which weighed about 150 pounds, was cut by broken window glass and left a trail of blood throughout the building's ground floor in his search for an escape route.
He ultimately took refuge in a back corner office, and was left alone while police waited for Niabi Zoo director Tom Stalf to come and sedate him.
"I'm not the only one in the area who can do it," said Mr. Stalf, explaining why he had been called to the scene. "We just (sedate animals) often -- it's common practice when inspecting and checking over animals."
He said he was happy to help the police department, because its officers were of great assistance when two wolves escaped from the zoo in August.
Soon after Mr. Stalf arrived, the deer had to be stunned with a bean-bag rifle so Mr. Stalf could get close enough to use his tranquilizing gun.
Sgt. Crouch said he had no choice other than to use the bean bags on the buck, because he was becoming agitated and frightened and could have endangered several people in the room if he had tried to flee.
Sgt. Crouch said he used the same bean bag rifle police would use on humans during riots.
"I really had no choice," the sergeant said. "We had a moving deer inside the building with several people who could seriously be injured."
After the buck was stunned with the bean bags, Mr. Stalf was able to get close enough to shoot him with Xylazine, a sedative and muscle relaxer.
After examining the animal's injuries, it was determined he would have to be euthanized.
"We exhausted all other resources," said Sgt. Crouch. "Unfortunately, the animal had to be put down."
Jaime Miller, a veterinarian with Oakwood Veterinary Service, Colona, was called to euthanize the buck.
"I gave him what essentially was an overdose of a sedative," said Dr. Miller, adding that she'd never been called to a similar situation before.
No one was sure what caused the deer to jump through the tall, narrow window. Mr. Stalf speculated that the buck may have become startled, and jumped through the window thinking he was instead jumping over a fence.
Servpro Cleaning and Restoration of Davenport was called in to help clean up the blood in the offices.
The Dispatch offices are expected to be open normal hours today.