NORTON, Ohio - A reindeer walking down a busy road in Norton kept 911 dispatchers busy on Sunday.
Before noon, residents started calling about a reindeer on state Route 21 south, near state Route 585.
Dispatch: “911, where’s your emergency?”
Caller: “Yeah, this is kind of strange. Route 21 south at 585.”
Caller: “And you may have already had some calls. There a (laughs), and I’m serious, a reindeer. Evidently, it’s from a farm. It has a red harness on its face. But it’s in the middle of the expressway. There’s several cars behind it.”
After that initial report, the calls kept pouring in.
“I’d like to report a wild animal. It’s not a deer. It looks like a very small reindeer,” one caller said.
“I’m on 21 south between 585 and Eastern Road and there is an animal, it’s a deer, it looks like a reindeer because it has a collar on it. And it’s walking down the middle of 21,” another caller said.
Eventually, dispatchers even answered the phone by saying “911, are you calling in reference to the deer on roadway of 21 near 585?” When the Ohio State Highway Patrol reports the deer to Norton dispatch, the 911 operator said “Yeah, we’ve got about a hundred calls.”
According to the recording 911 calls, an off-duty fireman stopped to the help the animal.
Fire department: “I’m the one sending you all the calls about the reindeer in the road.”
Dispatch: “Stop sending them to us.”
Fire department: “Oh, my God. (laughs) I have a fireman out there in his personal vehicle with the lights on it. And he says it’s been badly hit.”
Dispatch: “It’s been hit now?”
Fire department: “It’s been hit. He said it’s been walking down the middle of 21, but he says it’s injured. It has been hit.”
Dispatch: “Alright, we’ve got…”
Fire department: “He’s behind it with his lights on it, so no one else comes across it.”
Norton Officer Kevin Starling used the deer's harness to lead it to safety. The reindeer, which is named "Cupid," had a broken antler and road rash, but the injuries appeared to be minor.
"She was just walking. she wasn't running, she wasn't, she didn't appear to be badly injured. She wasn't limping or anything, sort of walking down the road like she knew where she was going," Starling said.
Authorities said the reindeer was in a truck on its way to a party in Beachwood when the truck hit a bump, causing the trailer’s doors to open just long enough for the animal to fall out. The juvenile deer was returned to Stump Hill Farm in Massillon.
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