PINECREST (CBS4) – A runaway exotic deer named Forest which died after it was hit by a car early Tuesday morning and has been traced to a Catholic school in Pinecrest.
Jorge Pino, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said they received a call around 4 a.m. after someone struck a deer at SW 72nd Avenue and 94th Street in Pinecrest The driver did not stop but a compassionate police officer brought Forest to a local veterinary clinic.
The deer, identified as a Chinese Muntjac deer, was taken to an area animal sanctuary where it died. According to several web sites, Muntjac deer are often kept as pets because they are easy to care for, can be house trained, and don’t need to be walked.
“Our science class, our teacher she took us to watch him get fed,” recalled Cristina Lacasa a student at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School.
Pino said since the deer is not native to Florida, they searched their records to see who was licensed for this type of wildlife. Turns out it is Father Daniel Kubala of the St. Thomas Apostle School who has a permit to keep the deer in his sanctuary.
The Archdiocese of Miami issued the following statement on the incident:
“It is a sad day for the children of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School in Miami. One of the beloved animals from their permitted animal sanctuary was involved in a hit and run accident and eventually died. This unique sanctuary is integrated into the curriculum at the school. The driver of the vehicle has not come forward. Father Daniel Kubala, pastor, is cooperating completely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.”
Students learning the news Tuesday afternoon were upset.
“Its sad, really sad,” said Ricardo Fernandez, a student.
The FWC issued a written warning to Kubala for allowing the deer to escape.