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With the help of a veterinarian from the Toronto Zoo, Toronto Police officers hold a female deer that ventured into downtown. The animal was shot with a tranquilizer, then tasered as it tried to flee near Dundas and University.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

She was the subject of an hours-long hunt throughout Toronto's downtown core.

After first being spotted at Union Station, she fled - darting between the skyscrapers before settling down against a tower just up the street from City Hall. Officers from the Toronto police Emergency Task Force, reserved for high-risk takedowns, surrounded the cornered target.

An hours-long standoff ensued, with a crowd of curious onlookers forming as police closed off nearby streets. Their target appeared calm, not moving as officers closed in.

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This deer wasn't going anywhere.

A wayward doe captivated the attention of Toronto's downtown Tuesday. While common in the city, the animals rarely venture out of green space and onto busy streets. Police took the two-year-old deer seriously, worried she could hurt someone.

"[She's]a wild animal. Fairly big, fairly large," Sergeant Winston Bennett said. "If it runs and hits a pedestrian, that's something we need to think about."

Just before noon, after surrounding the nonplussed doe, officers stood by with a net as a Toronto Zoo veterinarian fired a tranquilizer dart. It was meant to bring her down, but after a moment the animal rose up and ran toward the street.

In a quick decision to take down the 90-kilogram animal, one officer took a decidedly Toronto approach - the deer was tasered. She dropped immediately to the ground, twitching as the taser continued to crackle. Soon after, she was limp and officers moved in to secure her.

"With the police there and the [ETF] I thought it was a bomb threat," a nearby construction worker said. "You think it's pretty big. But then you hear, 'It's a deer, it's a deer.' "

The doe was loaded into a van. She was examined, found to be in good health and released an hour later in the lakefront Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Zoo veterinarian Graham Crawshaw told CTV.

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In other jurisdictions, she might not have been so lucky - a deer is often shot and killed when tranquilizers don't work.

"Their first goal is always to 'tranq' it and relocate. But if there's an immediate threat … [police]have to make a quick decision [to shoot]" said Matt Gordon of British Columbia's Ministry of Environment. Officers that get too close to the deer could get hurt, he said. Told about Toronto's doe, he was surprised.

"A police officer got close enough to taser it? He's got guts. …Those things kick."

Darcy Whiteside, a spokesman for Alberta's Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development, recalled a recent case where officials killed a deer at Calgary's airport. It was too fast to be tranquilized, and they don't taser the animals.

"Yeah, no - we've never tasered a deer, elk or wildlife," Mr. Whiteside said.

With reports from Scott Lilwall and Brodie Fenlon

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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