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Taking Home Roadkill is 'Pretty Common'

Some people, wildlife rehabilitators, and other animals make meals out of deer killed in roadside fatalities.

When a young woman accidentally hit a deer with her vehicle on Webb Circle last month, her father asked police if he could take the roadkill home for dinner — a scenario that Monroe Animal Control Officer Edward Risko says is not at all unusual.

"It's pretty common," he said. "It's one of the options. We can sign it off to a passing motorist or to the driver who struck the deer."

Risko said the same goes for black bears and moose hit by cars and trucks in Connecticut. Whether or not someone decides to take home the meat depends on the condition of the body, he added.

Some wildlife rehabilitators also use the meat from roadkill to feed scraps to the animals in their care because they don't want them to become accustomed to human food, according to Risko.

If a wild animal is acclimated to human food, some rehabilitators are concerned they will later start begging in people's yards when they smell it.

Among the animals some rehabilitators will feed venison to are foxes, raccoons, opossums, coyotes and some types of birds.

Rehabilitators who want to feed deer meat to animals in their care have to have room for a freezer to store the carcasses, Risko said.

There are also wildlife rehabilitators who strongly oppose feeding animals to other wildlife, because the meat may be diseased, Risko said.

"One rehabilitator I primarily deal with, Wildlife Crisis in Weston, they look for Purina Puppy Chow or Cat Chow and grind it up and add vitamin supplements or whatever they need for the type of animal they're feeding," he said.

A Feeding Station

When nobody claims the body of an animal involved in a roadside fatality, Risko says he takes the ones that are in good condition and leaves them at a feeding station in an undisclosed place in town. There, wild animals can feed on the remains.

In the winter, Risko said a 100-pound body will be eaten down to its skeletal remains within 48 hours. He added that the feeding station does not do as well in the summer, because the meat rots more quickly.

There is an advantage to homeowners living near the feeding station, Risko said, because animals will eat there, rather than scavenging for food in people's yards.

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