Sara Rodgers was walking her dog Hurley Friday night when he planted down by a stormwater drain in their Sapphire Hills neighborhood in Concord.
She walked over to look down the drain and "there were eyeballs staring back at me,” Rodgers said.
A young doe was trapped in a stormwater drain.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But what could have been a sad fate for the animal turned into a happy ending thanks to city of Concord Public Safety crew members.
Rescue officials used training to free the animal, according to a post Friday to a Facebook page.
The rescue team had guidance from wildlife officials and were able to "return the deer to her natural habitat with only minor cuts and injuries."
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission cautions that animals will be more aggressive if they are injured or diseased.
"Be extremely cautious when approaching any injured animal or animal which appears to be sick or is acting in an abnormal manner," the commission says.
Certain species should not be handled and cannot be rehabilitated because of the possibility of rabies, according to the commission. That includes bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks. The commission's website lists licensed wildlife rehabilitators who can be contacted for small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Pictures of the rescue showed a crew member wearing a helmet in the drain with the deer, attaching straps around the deer's waist and torso so it could be lifted to safety.
As officials worked to free the deer, Hurley watched.
“It never made a noise," Rodgers said. "I would have not known it was there had he not sniffed it."
<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FConcordNCPublicSafety%2Fposts%2F1008183906016707&width=500" width="500" height="731" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>