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Unexpected office visit

Becky Vargo • Oct 13, 2017 at 11:43 AM

SPRING LAKE — Employees and patients of a Spring Lake medical practice had quite a bit of excitement when a deer crashed through the office Thursday afternoon.

The deer smashed through a rear window of the clinic, ran through the building and jumped out the front window, said Sgt. Jason Kik of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. The deer was last seen running across Savidge Street.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to Lakeshore Family Care, 601 W. Savidge, at about 3:15 p.m. after receiving the animal complaint. Kik said deputies searched, but were unable to locate the injured deer.

Medical assistant Marcia Jones said she was preparing to give a patient a flu shot when something started slamming against the back of the building.

“It was really loud,” she said. “It sounded almost like thunder.”

Jones walked away from the window and was standing near the door when a deer came crashing through the window, almost straight at a 61-year-old woman sitting in a chair next to the door. Jones said she was able to slip out the door as the deer slid around on the tile floor. It followed her out of the room as the patient remained frozen in her seat. 

Once the deer was in the hallway, office manager Connie McKellips said she slammed the examining room door shut so the deer couldn’t go back in with the patient. McKellips said the deer stood still for a second, looked around, and then ran through a small waiting area and out the front window.

“People saw it go across Savidge,” McKellips said. “I can’t believe it didn’t get hit.”

Although they originally thought the deer was a doe, Jones said they soon found out it was a nine-point buck after discovering its antlers outside the window.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, although Jones said she did find some glass in her hair when she got home.

Muskegon State Game Area Wildlife Biologist Nik Kalejs said the “strange and rare” situation could have been due to several scenarios: the deer seeing its reflection in the window, the change of hormonal levels in its body or a panic behavior from a perception of being cornered.

“We don’t know for sure,” he said. “It’s certainly unusual behavior.”

Kalejs said that in October, the animals get a little more careless as they go into their breeding season. That’s when you see an increase in car/deer accidents. He urged motorists to drive with caution in rural areas and in low-light areas.

The incident at the medical office was not necessarily due to hunting, Kalejs said.

In reflecting back on Thursday afternoon, McKellips said it was the craziest thing.

“It’s funny today,” she said Friday morning. “It wasn’t funny yesterday.”

Crews cleaned up the mess after hours and boarded up the windows.

Jones said her father was going to mount the antlers for her.

“We’re going to hang it here in the office,” McKellips said.

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