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Its oh, deer! again as animal adopts family

Just visiting - 'Short-Timer' showed up at the home of George and Ruth Dallas soon after a similar animal was seen in Cornelius
by: Chase Allgood, George Dallas talks about Short-Timer the deer, who sniffs around his front porch.

The smell of toast wafts through George Dallas' kitchen and a familiar wet nose sniffs along the edges of his sliding glass door.

Liquid black eyes stare into his Hagg Lake home, imploring him to unlatch the door.

Short-Timer wants inside.

It's a common occurance at the Dallas home. Ever since his wife, Ruth, went to the mailbox in January and met a young deer who seems more Labrador than ruminant.

'He never listens to me,' Dallas says with loving annoyance. But as much as Short-Timer (Dallas gave the young deer the name, assuming he wouldn't be long for the fight) has become a member of the household, Dallas is trying his best to have him relocated.

'As much as I love the little guy, I'm looking forward to him being gone,' Dallas said.

After Short-Timer spooked Ruth in the driveway, the couple started talking about the over-friendly deer.

About 10 minutes into the conversation, George noticed that Short-Timer's markings were stunningly similar to those of a young deer that had been led around by a group of boys in Cornelius in January,

That deer was picked up by Oregon State Police officers and released to the wild just weeks before Short-Timer started hanging around the Dallas home.

Oregon State Police won't say where they took the Cornelius deer, but Dallas is pretty sure officials dropped the youngster off near Hagg Lake.

'There are a lot of deer around here. I could see how he would think, 'this is pretty remote,'' Dallas said.

Deer are common on Scoggins Valley Road, the paved loop around Hagg Lake. But Short-Timer is different.

He follows Ruth on her walks along the road, whether she wants him to or not. He made nice with the construction crew that was building a house next to Dallas. He also took to sleeping inside the unfinished house before the crew could put doors on the structure.

Dallas doesn't feed Short-Timer, but the deer manages fine on his own. He's mowed down every succulent plant he can find in Dallas' hilly garden.

But Dallas isn't trying to relocate Short-Timer because he eats the greenery. He's trying to find the deer a new home because he knows that Short-Timer is more trouble than he seems.

That became apparent about a month ago when Short-Timer reared up and knocked over Dallas' three-year-old granddaughter, Ellie Krewson.

'Of course we all freaked,' Dallas said, 'I yelled at him. That didn't do anything.'

Short-Timer quickly backed down, and Ellie jumped up unfazed, but Dallas knew his friendly neighborhood deer needed to be relocated.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist Don VandeBergh says that Short-Timer shows all the signs of a deer that was once someone's pet.

And Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the agency, says that Short-Timer's story illustrates why people shouldn't take in young wildlife, no matter how cute they may appear.

'The deer is a perfect example of why we tell people not to remove fawns and other young wildlife from the wild - and why wildlife should not be fed. Now it's become a nuisance to someone else,' she said.

Dennehy said that her agency doesn't relocate deer very often. The field office that serves Washington County has relocated four or fewer per year.

But in the case of Short-Timer, relocation is likely the best option. The young deer has antler nubs on his head. Spring will likely bring about 'the rut' when deer enter breeding season and males get aggressive and unpredictable.

Since Short-Timer has clearly lost his fear of people, Dennehy said that's when deer are their most dangerous. 'Those are the animals that we have problems with,' he said.