A Riverside County Animal Services officer and a state Fish & Game warden wielded ropes to try and lasso a mule deer stuck in a dicey predicament in the All American Canal.
The deer had somehow ended up in the canal, probably after falling in after taking a few sips of water on a day when temperatures reached the triple-digit mark. It had been in and out of the canal's steady stream of 12-foot waters for about an hour before its assisted escape. (The deer had found refuge on a concrete embankment near a bridge along the canal, near the area of Dillon Road and Avenue 44.)
"This is a very popular fishing area and it was area fisherman who first spotted the deer," Animal Services Officer Hector Palafox said. "They were likely enjoying a day of fishing when they first spotted the big ears and probably thought, 'What the heck?' "
Officer Palafox said it was one of those fishermen, Robert Nieto (note to media: spelling is believe to be correct), who fished out the female mule deer as several other would-be rescuers readied their own lassos.
Fish & Game Warden Matthew Shanley was on hand to assist with his own lasso and also to advise in the rescue attempts. Everyone on hand helped pull the deer to safety.
Concerned that the deer may be suffering from exhaustion or dehydration, Warden Shanley and Officer Palafox placed the deer in Palafox's air-conditioned animal control truck for observation. Fifteen minutes later, Shanley was satisfied that the deer was in good condition. He and Officer Palafox released the deer into the wild off of Berdoo Canyon Road.