Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Famous Deer Saved From Euthanasia Dies the Very Next Day

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right. (Image: AP)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right. (Image: AP)

A small deer that was at the center of a political tussle between New York State and New York City has died of stress after it was given a stay of execution.

Advertisement

The white-tailed buck was discovered on Wednesday in Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem. The people that discovered the deer thought was part of a holiday display, according to a New York Times report. But the deer was actually a wild animal, and it quickly became the centerpiece of a bizarre political feud between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The deer was brought to Animal Care & Control,” said a city spokesperson on Thursday, according to a New York Post report, about one day after it was reported to authorities. “We do not intend to release the deer back into the busy and dense borough of Manhattan.”

Advertisement

On Thursday afternoon, the city announced it planned to kill the deer.

But the Governor’s office had a different agenda. On Thursday evening, Governor Cuomo offered to help the city remove the deer and keep it alive.

“Over the last day, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advised the City of New York that there are alternatives to euthanasia that they can consider, including relocation,” a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo told the Post. “The City has now captured the deer, and Governor Cuomo has directed DEC to offer assistance to the City to transport and find a new habitat for it immediately.”

Advertisement

The city’s staff played along, but not without publicly undermining Governor Cuomo’s recommendation. “If a deer is already in a natural location and you can leave them there, then they have a chance of survival, but if not, you don’t really have another option,” said de Blasio on the Brian Lehrer Show. “It’s a question of is it going to be a quick and merciful death versus potentially a very long painful process.”

A spokesperson for the city parks department echoed the mayor’s concerns. “Because transporting deer causes them great stress, and because relocated deer have very low survival rates,” the city parks spokesperson said on Friday in a New York Times report. “The city still believes that the most humane option here is euthanasia. However, the state is the regulatory body here, and we defer to them.”

Advertisement

Sadly, it didn’t matter that the city decided to work with the state government because the deer never made it to greener pastures. The white-tailed buck died due to “stress from the past 24 hours” according to officials.

Advertisement

So, you might think that the political infighting would end there, but it didn’t. The state government jumped on the opportunity to use the deer’s death as a way to attack de Blasio’s administration. Governor Cuomo’s office pointed the finger directly at the city government when news about the deer’s death broke.

Advertisement
Advertisement

So now it appears that Mayor de Blasio has (deer) blood on his hands. At least the young buck has moved onto a better place, where politics hopefully aren’t so grimy. RIP little buddy.

Correction: An earlier version of this story named the governor Richard Cuomo. We regret the error.

Advertisement

Technology editor at Gizmodo.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I’m wondering what the science is behind the decision to euthanize rather than relocate when it comes to deer. Oddly enough, you seem to see the opposite when predatory animals are the ones in human environments, with great pains taken to try to keep the animal alive and to relocate it unless its is absolutely necessary to kill it. Of course, a deer is not the same as a bear or a wolf or a cougar and it could be that because deer are relatively plentiful animals compared to their predatory peers, its seen as not as necessary to try to keep them alive.