Deer euthanized after being trapped on the frozen Genesee River in Rochester

Animals

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A deer was euthanized Thursday night, after being trapped on the frozen Genesee River in Downtown Rochester for more than 24 hours.

The deer was first spotted on the ice Wednesday afternoon. The Department of Environmental Conservation determined there was no safe way to reach the animal, “because it was on unstable ice over moving water.”

At 6:00 p.m. Thursday, police and firefighters were called to the area for reports of a person going into the river. Police say officers on scene found nobody had gone in yet, but at least one person was intending to do so.

Officers blocked the area and the Department of Environmental Conservation was called in once again. This time, the DEC and local officials decided, “due to an increased threat to public safety,” to humanely euthanize the animal.

DEC response

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials released this information about the deer on the ice Thursday:

“DEC joined City of Rochester Police and Fire Department tonight in response to reports of a deer on the Genesee River just before the waterfalls. A joint determination was made during the initial deer sighting yesterday and tonight that there was no safe way to reach the deer because it was on unstable ice over moving water. Earlier this evening, due to an increased threat to public safety, DEC and local officials decided to humanely euthanize the animal following appropriate protocols.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials released this information about the deer on the ice Wednesday:

“DEC received reports Wednesday afternoon of a deer stuck on the ice on the Genesee River. It was last seen against the river wall below the former Raddison Hotel. There is no safe way to reach the deer as it is on unstable ice over moving water at the base of a vertical wall that is at least 20 feet high. Any attempts to capture it is likely to result in it injuring itself. DEC continues to coordinate with the Rochester Fire and Police departments and all have determined the best option is to allow the deer to find its way to safety.”

DEC Ice safety tips

DEC encourages New Yorkers to practice ice safety. A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety for venturing out onto the ice. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water. The guidelines are based on new, clear ice on non-running waters. Since ice thickness can vary on a lake, check the ice periodically to stay safe.

  • 2 Inches or less – Stay off
  • 4 Inches – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5 Inches – Snowmobiles or ATV
  • 8-12 Inches – Car or small pickup
  • 12-15 inches – Medium Truck

Be cautious in areas where “bubblers” are used to protect docks. They can produce thin, unsafe ice some distance away. Be especially alert in areas near shore, over moving bodies of water, and where streams enter and exit lakes and ponds. Slush ice is about 50 percent weaker. Clear ice over running water is about 20 percent weaker. Double the recommendations for white ice.

More ice safety information is available online here.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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