Brookings police are working with state officials after stories of maimed, injured and killed deer - including two found in a Dumpster on Fifth Street last week - began circulating on social media.
Residents in the neighborhood of Fifth and Ransom streets said they'd seen does with missing legs, had heard of someone chopping off deer's legs and even called police when the dead deer were found in a Dumpster.
"There is a combination of situations here," said Police Lt. Donny Dotson. "For more than a year, there has been a deer living that neighborhood with one leg missing. And recently, the past couple of weeks, there's been a picture going around with two fawns, and it looks like one is missing a leg. The photographer heard that and set the record straight; it was the angle of the picture.
"But more seriously, the dentist's office did call and there were two dead deer in their Dumpster," he added. "A deer in a Dumpster is one thing. The second is how it died."
Initially investigators thought those deer might have been poached outside the city limits and dumped in town. But they had not been cleaned or skinned, Dotson said. Those animals' deaths are under investigation.
The police department gets reports of gunshots all the time, he said, and he believes many calls would be generated if someone were hunting deer in the city.
"There's always a little bit of truth (to rumors)," Dotson said. "A couple of stories get combined to make one seemingly big deal."
And the possibilities of what happened to the deer in the Dumpster are "endless," he said. "What killed the deer, how they ended up in a Dumpster. andhellip; And maiming, cripplings and cutting deer's legs off? As far as we know, that has not happened."
He noted that deer are often injured by dogs, vehicles and fences.
"I've seen many deer in this town with three legs," he said. "The one in the Fifth Street area, it looks just terrible. Its fourth leg is just hanging there. But it's been like that for years."
Anyone with information regarding the death or dumping of the deer carcasses is encouraged to call the Brookings Police Department at 541-469-3118 or Oregon State Police's wildlife division at 503-378-3720.