Limerick family ‘devastated’ as baby deer dies

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

Happier times: Mairead the young deer which was shot in the back being nursed back to health by Rosie Campbell at Animal Magic in Kilmallock last month. Sadly, Mairead took a turn for the worse and lost her brave battle. Picture: Marie McCallan/ Press 22
MAIREAD, a young Sika deer which was found shot in the back last month, has died.

MAIREAD, a young Sika deer which was found shot in the back last month, has died.

The fawn, which was rescued by a County Limerick couple, had undergone two operations in a bid to save her life and restore her to good health.

It was thought that she had been making good progress. However, she suddenly took a turn for the worse and passed away last week.

“We were absolutely gutted, devastated. I spent two days crying,” said Rosie Campbell of Animal Magic in Kilmallock who rescued the deer from the County Cork farm on January 19. “We just miss her so much - she was such a little character. We were so hopeful.”

It is believed that Mairead suffered a gunshot wound after a man with a rifle was spotted in the driveway of the County Cork farm. The alarm was raised when the farmer in Glencarney outside Rockchapel noticed crows circulated an area of his land. As he moved in closer to inspect the dyke, he spotted a small deer in considerable distress.

“My brother Micheal found the poor little deer in the dyke” explained Mairead O’Keeffe.

“The crows were picking at her and they were actually picking at where the bullet had hit so they were actually clearing out the wound. There was fresh blood coming to it so it wasn’t a bad thing. She was crying, the crater, and trying to crawl away. She is a beautiful, gentle little thing – she actually tried to lick my brother’s hand.”

Micheal and Mairead immediately set about getting help for the ailing animal. They came across the number for Animal Magic in Kilmallock.

Mairead underwent surgery over two days to clean out the dead cells where the bullet struck, and the surrounding area that might be infected.

“We think what happened was she still had some fragments of the bullet inside her,” Rosie explained this Tuesday.

“She actually had started to get movement in her back legs. The swelling had started to go down and that must have been protecting where the bullet was. I think it had been walled off with the swelling and then it probably broke free and travelled in the bloodstream.”

The day before she passed away, Mairead appeared to be in “fantastic form”. “She was on antibiotics right from the beginning and pain relief so she was still on those.

“She hadn’t been walking but she was moving her legs. We were doing physio on her legs and she was actually pushing against us which was a brilliant sign.”

While Rosie and her family are absolutely devastated to have lost the little deer, they are just thankful to have had her in their lives for two and a half weeks. “She was a beautiful, gentle little thing. We are sad for her but I actually had a dream, only a couple of nights ago, that we were out walking in the woods and we saw her running around. It made me really,really happy,” said Rosie.