Deer rescued from frozen pond

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A harrowing and chilly rescue on the frozen pond at the Botanical Gardens Friday went off without a hitch, after a young male deer was stuck on the ice for several hours.

Here’s what it looked like this morning in south Buffalo.

Rescue crews said the deer had likely been there overnight.

As a result, it was hypothermic and its legs were too weak, said Detective Leo McGrath, the commander of the Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery Team.

Members of the recovery team showed up at around 10:30 a.m. Friday after receiving a tip.

First they tested the ice, which they believed to be three or four inches thick.

And although it cracked slightly near the shore, they used ropes and other equipment to ensure their safety.

The rescue was quick, and the underwater team practices such maneuvers about once a month, McGrath said.

“It’s our safety first, the animal’s secondary,” he said. “But if we can do it, it’s a good thing to do. But No. 1, we’re looking out for the safety of our women first.

McGrath said he’s glad someone called police rather than attempt the rescue themselves.

“For anybody to try to attempt this, it’s very dangerous,” he said. “You could fall in and be hypothermic in minutes, and succumb to the hypothermia and drowning. So that’s why we’re on lines, wearing protective suits and we’re very safe when we go out there.”

Once the deer was pulled to safety, it was tranquilized by the SPCA to prevent further injury. It’s now in the care of an SPCA member, who will nurse it back to health. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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